By Andrew Ross
Conferences are often thought of as dull events for boring businesspeople. However, an upcoming independent media conference, Balance 2001: Finding the Healthy Medium, promises to change that perception.
The conference, organized by the University of Calgary TriMedia Alliance and running from November 8-10, examines independent media’s dual role in providing balanced coverage and access to diverse perspectives. This is the first conference hosted by the TriMedia Alliance, composed of the Gauntlet, CJSW, and NUTV.
Gauntlet News Editor and conference organizer Ruth Davenport emphasized the importance and relevance of the conference in an interview Monday.
“Sun-Tzu wrote in The Art of War, ‘the most powerful man in the world is a man who can collect and distribute information,’” said Davenport. “I think he was making the point that information is an enabling tool.”
“If you look in modern times,” she continued, “the primary method through which people collect information is the media, so it behooves people to be aware of how the media functions. That’s what this conference does.”
The conference will feature representatives of the Parkland Insitute, the CBC, Encompass magazine, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting from New York and ICTV in Vancouver. Most speakers will examine and deconstruct various aspects of independent and mainstream media. On Sat., Nov. 10, editor and founder of AlbertaViews magazine Jackie Flanagan will deliver the keynote address, “Is there hope for Indymedia in Alberta?” The conference will conclude with a panel discussion critically analyzing the role and credibility of independent media.
Chad Saunders, CJSW Station Manager, encouraged any members of the public to
“Some of the guests who are coming are spot-on,” he enthused. “Definitely guaranteed to rock your world.”
Unlike previous independent media conferences–which have often been characterized by boosterism–Balance 2001 will be a critical examination of indymedia. Davenport couldn’t rule out the possibility that the conference will conclude that an independent media is unnecessary.
“In the event that [the conference] finds us unnecessary,” speculated Davenport, “there will be a faint popping noise and we’ll all disappear. Kerplooie!”
For more information on the conference, visit www.ucalgary.ca/trimedia.