- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the WeMedia conference in Miami, which brought together a diverse range of folks to talk about the future of media in a digital world. In addition, I served as a judge for the organization's PitchIt! Challenge, which was a fantastic experience.
The conference sessions were inspiring, sometimes provocative, and always engaging. They included presentations from WeMedia's Game Changer awards program, which celebrates people, projects, ideas and organizations leading change and inspiring a better world through media; as well as a provocative discussion with Michael Wolff, columnist for Vanity Fair and founder of news aggregator Newser, along with a variety of informative small group "invention" sessions for a deeper dive into a range of new technologies and tactics. If you're interested in checking out video and the archived liveblogging from any of the sessions, the conference program page offers links to each from the session title listing.
Dominating the second day of the conference was the PitchIt! Challenge, sponsored by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Knight Foundation, which I had the great privilege of serving as a judge for. PitchIt! looks for entrepreneurs and organizations that have dreams of new services, experiences, products and business models for media and technology - coupled with a potential for social impact and benefit. After a sleepless night of preparation and help from last year's winners, Jacob Colker of The Extraordinaries and Ben Berkowitz of SeeClickFix, the nine finalists presented eight-minute pitches on their ideas. Then, it was up to the judges to decide which person/organization to award $25,000 for one for-profit and one non-profit idea. To say that I was impressed with all of the finalists would be an understatement. The potential for the ideas proposed was tremendous, and the finalists had obviously put considerable thought into these concepts, which ranged from an organization providing crowdfunded ad space for nonprofits (LoudSauce), to a disaster response platform bringing together new and traditional media (MiCAST), to a crowdsourced site and mobile phone app to enable consumers to make purchasing decisions based on responsible corporate behavior (Citizens Market).
It was challenging to pick a winner - but the potential for both award recipients is very exciting. On the for-profit side, Audimated, is a music platform designed to help quickly and easily connect independent artists with new fans, and brings fans into the value chain by rewarding them for helping to market artists using the site. On the nonprofit side, AssignIt, which was developed by Capitol News Connection founder Melinda Wittstock, is a mobile platform designed to leverage smart phone technology to connect journalists with local citizens to gather content for investigative stories. You can read more about both winners in this Miami Herald article, and more on AssignIt from this short write-up on Allison Fine's blog.
And finally, here is a short interview I did while on site at WeMedia to share more information about our efforts at the Case Foundation.