Speaktank debuts

By Nicole Kobie

They can talk the talk, but not much else. NUTV attempted to give students a chance to speak their minds this week, but as of Tuesday, technical problems prevented the process.

Throughout Clubs Week, NUTV planned to hold a Speakers’ Corner-like session, called Speaktank, that students could participate in. The debates were to be broadcast live on the internet as part of One Yellow Rabbit’s Channel Rodeo.

Channel Rodeo is essentially a collection of footage on the web of performers of a variety of types. The idea was developed over the summer at a web tv workshop held at Netera, located on the fifth floor of Biological Sciences Building.

"We met after that [workshop], and came up with the idea to host something during the High Performance Rodeo, something One Yellow Rabbit does every January," said NUTV Program Director Tom Andriuk. "Why wait for the Internet to support content, when we can get into it now?"

The idea Andriuk developed was the Speaktank, a converted photobooth that records students in much the same way that video conferencing works.

"I’m hoping to grab people like [Students’ Union members] Rob South, Amanda Affonso, or the anarchist club, or whoever, to give them a forum," Andriuk said on Monday, adding that the tapes will be used on a future NUTV broadcast.

Until Tuesday, NUTV was unsuccessful in uploading to their server, so none of the footage was actually online yet.
"Even with all the high-tech tools [we have], things do fail," explained Andriuk.

The end of this week’s trial period does not mark the end of Speaktank. It will eventually return after this week, although not online. A setup will be used much like the Speakers’ Corner on Much Music, with students paying to speak their minds.

"I’m hoping [the booth] will become a landmark in Mac Hall," Andriuk said. "Whether people use it as a meeting space, or to participate, or something to do after a night at the Den… it could be scary, the kind of footage we’ll get."

The resulting footage will be aired on a closed-circuit channel. Monitors will be placed in MacEwan Hall, and there will be a feed to residence halls this summer. The channel will air advertisements and campus news, as well as footage from the Speaktank.

"The idea was initiated for the internet, but will tie into the closed-circuit idea," Andriuk explained. "We’ll have a pilot [of the closed-circuit channel] installed this summer, with the first television sets you’ll see by the bank machines in that little airport terminal lobby."

In the meantime, if all goes well, students will be able to participate in the online version of Speaktank on Thursday afternoon from 2-4 p.m. in MacEwan Student Centre, by the Info Booth. The live Speaktank footage and other Channel Rodeo work, can be viewed at: www.oyr.org.


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