Reporter travels across Canada like it’s 1963 – with 2013 technology

Sun Media features writer Thane Burnett is going on a road trip across Canada. It’s a road trip ‘back in time’ to 1963, a time Burnett believes marks one of the best periods in Canadian history. (It also happens to be the year he was born) Burnett’s trip will take him to places that only existed in 1963 (think diners, landmarks, etc.,) in a quest to find out what Canadians think is the best time in our history.

Burnett recently arrived in Halifax and started travelling west on March 11. While Thane’s trip is a journey back in time, it’s a step-forward in how we use online tools to present an ongoing series.

I’ve been working with Burnett over the last few weeks to get him trip-ready; Tips and tricks when using an iPhone; how to use Instagram (finally a good reason to use a retro filter!!); six-second video sharing machine, Vine, our live-blogging platform, Scribblelive; filing video to YouTube via iPhone apps.

Here’s the hash-tag that I wanted branded on everyone’s brains: #RETROCANADA

As well, Burnett will be using more familiar tools, including a WordPress blog, writing regular stories for print/online and shooting photos.

He’ll be the definition of the mobile journalist over the next few weeks.

Burnett’s been a patient and willing student. As the Sun’s national community manager, that’s all I can ask. And I can’t wait to watch him as he tweets, Instagrams, and Vines (making up verbs here) his way across Canada.


Accuracy of news in the Twitter age

Checked out the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s J-Talk last night on The Twitter Effect: Is Journalism Still Able to Get it Right?

The panel included public editors/digital journalist/commentators at the forefront of curating good, accurate content from social media, including NPR’s Andy Carvin and GigaOM writer Mathew Ingram. I was particularly interested in what Carvin had to say. He was the Twitter force behind gathering solid content, sources during the Arab Spring and was among the social media leaders cutting through the chaos during the recent Newtown shootings.

During Thursday’s J-Talk, Carvin described his method as an “open source newsroom” where he transparently verifies information by asking his followers and includes them in the process by explaining his methods – step by step – via Twitter. He admits when he’s wrong and doesn’t delete inaccurate tweets. Carvin’s technique runs counter in many ways to how newsrooms have traditionally run – i.e. gatekeepers of information.

The event was livestreamed and liveblogged, for those who want to see the J-Talk in its entirety.

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