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Last-minute update to MGP2006 summit participants

In three or four days about 200 of us will convene at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for "MGP2006" -- the first Media Giraffe Project summit conference on the future of journalism and democracy. Thank-you for participating. We offer an important challenge: To spotlight change and help shape the future of journalism and democracy. We're looking for fresh ideas on the sustainability of civic and watchdog journalism, and on ways to engage citizens -- students and adults alike -- and creating -- media that matters.

Links to resources / welcome letter

A welcome letter, with important logistical information, will included the conference folder you will receive when checking in. To preview what it says: GO HERE. Other resources:

This email:

  • Points to important Internet travel, lodging and program information.
  • Provides links to our wiki and blog services -- please use them!
  • Asks each of you to post your goals and expected outcomes for MGP2006
  • Reminds about the opportunity to enroll in "Journalism That Matters"

Setting tone -- participation

Information technology and its impact on journalism and media are changing so fast that an event like "Democracy & Independence: Sharing News & Information in a Connected World" can be only a snapshot in time. In addition, each of you coming has hidden knowledge and expertise. Please share it with us all. We don't expect the speakers, conveners and "discussants" to carry the ball all the time. It's up to us all to add links, depth, background and insight at the sessions we attend. There are two ways you can help:

1. Share your expectations?

Three days in June and July is not enough time to resolve a vision for the future of journalism, participatory democracy and community. But we can extend that time a little by getting the conversation started early. What are your expectations for MGP2006? What are the key issues at the intersections of media, politics, education and technology? What do you see yourself as bringing to the summit? What would you like to learn and take away? What do you want to see accomplished? Please post your comments at: http://newshare.typepad.com/mgp2006/2006/06/starting_the_co.html

2. Help craft the sessions

There are more than 30 sessions over three days at MGP2006. Help craft them! We've created an editable "wiki" page for each session. Find a session you plan to attend from the list, click on the title, then on the "edit" tab. Add questions . . . observations . . . links . . . resources. Even add your notes on the session afterward. Here's the link to the list: http://www.mediagiraffe.org/wiki/index.php/Summit_topics
And HERE'S AN EXAMPLE of a well-formatted session description.

3. Email session leaders/conveners

For session leaders and participants -- and for attendees -- we've provided an alphabetical list of all summit attendees and their email address in the welcome packet you will receive upon arrival in Amherst. A link to it is also in the email version of this page which summit participants received on June 25. This page is not linked from any public page, so please do not share this URL. But in order for you to begin contacting fellow participants NOW, go to the URL in the email version of this Update to get names and email addresses.


Reminder about Internet access

If you want to stay connected while at MGP2006, here's how:

  • Campus Center Hotel guests will have free WIRED Internet in their room. No signup is required.
  • Gorman Hall dorm guests must register for WIRED Internet access (see link below)
  • All participants who wish WIRELESS Internet access within the Campus Center meet areas, and throughout campus, must register (see link below)
  • If you are presenting with a laptop and need Internet access, you must register.
Registering for Internet access

The Office of Information Technology at UMass requires a brief form be completed for those who wish Internet access on their own laptop. Many registrants have already submitted the form. To speed access setup, go to this URL and either FAX or EMAIL the complete form to conference registrar Shelley Gibbons. This will allow you to get an active temporary username/password when you arrive: http://www.mediagiraffe.org/internet/

If you just want to check email

If you are not bringing a laptop or portable device, you'll be able to check your email, print a boarding pass or access websites. Editors of the UMass Daily Collegian student paper -- which doesn't publish in the summer -- have opened up the paper's news computers and networked printer for web access and word processing. The Collegian office is at the south end of our meeting area in the Campus Center lower level.

Join the Friday/Saturday "Journalism That Matters" seminar

After eight sessions on Wednesday evening and all day Thursday focused on the future of journalism, consider rolling up your sleeves to do affect that future. Stephen Silha and Chris Peck invite you to join the "Journalism That Matters" seminar. It's a rare opportunity to hatch specific, actionable ideas for change and renewal. Learn about the seminar HERE. Then look at WHO'S SIGNED UP, and ADD YOUR NAME.

Become beta tester of Newstrust.net

MGP2006 participant Fabrice Florin invites MGP2006 attendees to go online and join "NewsTrust.net" a social news network that helps people find good journalism online. The pilot site features top-rated news stories and opinions from hundreds of mainstream and alternative news sources. NewsTrust members rate the news based on journalistic quality, not just popularity. To sign up for our private pilot site, go to: http://pilot.newstrust.net/signup/conf.htm (Florin will convene a discussion at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday: “Quality: How Do You Measure It?”)

Room for 30 to dissect the "Philadelphia experiments"

Philadelphia, which cradled the birth of a nation, is now home to two experiments which could change the face of American journalism. First, the city's two dailies are about to be sold by a chain to local owners, reversing a decades long pattern. And second, citizen and full-time journalists have been meeting to envision the news organization of the future, or "norg." From 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., June 29, you can join a live videoconference between Amherst and Philadelphia to discuss these experiments. CLICK HERE TO SIGNUP.


Signup for Keillor at Tanglewood

Are you staying over Saturday night? If there's enough interest, we'll organize an expedition to the summer home of the Boston Sympony Orchestra for an early evening live performance of Garrison Keillor and the Prairie Home Companion at the famed Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass. If you're interested, please ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS LINKED PAGE. If we have a minimum of six people interested, we'll arrange transportation to and from Tanglewood -- about a 1 and a quarter hour drive west from Amherst.

Beginner's white-water kayaking

You can also signup for a beginner-level rafting trip on the Deerfield River on Saturday afternoon:
TRIP INFO: http://www.zoaroutdoor.com/giraffe.htm
SIGNUP PAGE: http://www.mediagiraffe.org/wiki/index.php/Rafting

Travel/Lodging/Parking/Maps / Staying Saturday?

For travel, lodging, parking and map info:

ACCOMMODATIONS Update: The folks who run UMass residence halls in the summer report that Media Giraffe Project summit participants who wish to say in on-campus dorm housing after Friday night may do so at a charge of approximately $38/night. Please identify yourself at check-in if you wish Saturday (or Sunday/Monday) dormitory housing. You may have to a different dormitory.


  • If you are a summit participant not assigned to a specific session, or want to introduce a fresh topic for discussion, do so by editing this page:


  • You can post links to white papers at:


  • Or links to articles of interest at:


  • The BULLETIN BOARD page is for posting general announcements:



Please take a look at the conference "wiki" page, find your name (alpha by last name) and check the links. http://www.mediagiraffe.org/wiki/index.php/Conveners_and_Attendees

If you prefer a different two links, or if we didn't create links for you yet, use the "edit" tab on the top of the page to put in the proper links. If you're not sure how to edit a "wiki" page, just send an email to mediagiraffe@journ.umass.edu with the changed information or link!

We will do everything we can to make your stay in Amherst as comfortable as possible -- for any questions or requests, just ask.


--Emily Moses, Norm Sims, Bill Densmore and the entire MGP2006 team

-- The Media Giraffe Project
Journalism Program / Communication Studies
108 Bartlett Hall / Univ. of Mass.
Amherst MA 01003
OFF: 413-577-4370 Bill Densmore / DIRECT: 413-458-8001