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"I've found a new group of chicago communicator rockstars to keep an eye on!" @karitas (aka Kara Carell, social-media-maven-about-town) penned after Communicamp-via Twitter. She was one of about 60 journalists, new online news providers, and nonprofit communicators gathered for their first-ever unconference on 'social media, the news, and us' -- how changes in the news business, technology, and the economy are driving shifts in how we tell and hear stories from Chicago's diverse communities.

Adrian Holovaty, whose Everyblock was an early leader in online news and who recently sold that site to, engages in a "kitchen conversation with Thom Clark of the Workshop during the Communicamp event. Adrian shares some of his thoughts on how journalism is changing and took some questions from the group.

The "unconference" format takes advantage of the ease of self-organizing events via the Internet and recognizes the value of "hallway conversations" that happen at conferences. It was the first time such a nonprofit unconference has been held in Chicago. Everyone attending offered a topic they would like to learn more or teach about, facilitator Jean Russell helped organize these topics into a schedule grid for the day, and participants were off to the races.

The goals of CommuniCamp were to share:
* A deeper understanding of the blending of traditional media and PR and Web 2.0 integrated marketing through collective resource sharing.
* Networking by bringing together the wisdom of many expertise, participating in the conversation and developing new resources.
* Genuine empowerment of participants (rather than passive observers, people who attend are in charge of their experience and conversations) People who attend are in charge of their experience and their conversations.

While 1 or 2 individuals felt uncomfortable with the format, and others felt the "the future-of-journalism question can't be resolved by any more conversation," participants learned more about blogs and aggregators, tools and tech, but perhaps more importantly forged relationships with folks they did not know before: "The most important thing I learned was that change is easy to approach when you have a group of committed and skilled people involved," said one.

Read more and see photos from the event at


Recorded Thursday, October 29, 2009 at Columbia College Film Row Cinema.

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