Both Kevin and I are going to be spending the next couple of days at the WeMedia conference examining citizen journalism, the media and trust. Organised by the BBC, Reuters and The Media Center, it hopes to shed some light on participatory media and help mainstream news companies understand what they need to do to thrive in this shifting news landscape.

OK, so that’s how I wish it was. Instead, look at the schedule and shout Bingo! When you see a real, honest to goodness blogger.

Quiet, isn’t it?

The thing I am worried about is that this is going to turn into a happy clappy back-slappy smugfest, with the Beeb and Reuters competing to see whose day (they each have one) has the biggest names, who can draw the biggest crowds, and who trusts who most. They already have a survey that they’ve completed, and which they’ll be promoting at the event, which shows people trust national TV news the most and bloggers very little. So much for ‘citizen journalism’ being a symbiosis of equals – this sounds more like ‘we Media, you Jane’.

But if you were one of the people who took one look at the $795 price tag and winced, you can still participate and, indeed, I would encourage you to do so. You can watch the video feed, listen to the audio feed, monitor the blogs (including the various official ones), an take part in the backchannel. Your IRC choices are going to be an in-browser client or #wemedia on irc.freenode.net.

I am participating on both days as an Online Curator, so will be on IRC, and in as many other places as possible online, looking out for comments to feed back into the mix. I think I get to sit on stage at times and ask difficult questions and quote people’s opinions, so I’m depending on you to give me something juicy to work with. Without you, I’ll just end up looking silly, so please do pop into IRC and let me know what you think of proceedings.

I’m also talking at the WeMedia Fringe, where all the cool kids are gonna be, on Wednesday night. The Fringe is fully sold out, so no real point coming if you don’t already have a ticket, but it’s cool that there should be so much interest. I’m going to be talking on the three things that media should be prepared to do before they even think about running any sort of participatory media project.

Right, time to go prepare. See you tomorrow.

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