I’m honoured to be both a speaker and panelist this Tuesday evening as part of an event hosted by the Canadian Journalism Foundation. The event is titled Social Media Meets Traditional Election Coverage and features journalists Chris Boutet, Kenyon Wallace and Jesse Hirsch.

If you’re at the event, be sure we have a chance to chat.

The CJF has prepared the following description of the event.

There are more voters using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) than in any previous federal election. What does that mean for mainstream media election coverage? How are campaign strategists responding? Will social media bring out the youth vote? Please join us at our next CJF Forum as we seek the answers to these questions and more.

Mark Blevis, a digital public affairs strategist whose data crunching has been sourced by the Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press and others, will share his findings on the role of social media in the election. Chris Boutet, senior producer of digital media at the National Post, and Kenyon Wallace, Toronto Star online editor and reporter, joins Mark in a discussion of Canada’s first so-called “social media election” and its coverage. Jesse Hirsh, internet strategist and broadcaster, will moderate and direct the Q&A.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 19, Presentation 6:30 p.m. / Reception 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave (Toronto)


MARK BLEVIS has seven years of experience providing counsel on digital communication and engagement for companies in the high-tech, pharmaceutical, financial services, energy and publishing industries, foreign embassies and Canadian government departments and agencies. His February 2010 research report House of Tweets and 2011 follow up Peace, Order and Googleable Government have recently positioned him as an analyst of social media in politics and public affairs. Prior to becoming immersed in digital communication, Blevis worked in information security, risk management and privacy for both the private sector and government.

CHRIS BOUTET is the senior producer for digital media at the National Post. In his five years with the organization as a page editor, news blogger, home page director and audience engagement strategist, Chris has helped to establish a collaborative newsroom environment that encourages online innovation, whether it’s creating new ways to engage with casual readers or turning a static graphic into a runaway viral hit. Leading the National Post’s social media strategy, Chris’s team has cultivated thriving networks on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr that have helped the Post reach and engage with vast new communities of readers. You can follow him on Twitter @chrisboutet.

KENYON WALLACE is a journalist and web editor with the Toronto Star. He is the primary editor of the Star’s newly-launched online Politics Page, and one of two coordinators of the Star’s Youth Nation 2011 initiative – a website and online forum aimed at engaging young people and candidates running for office under the age of 30 in a conversation surrounding the federal election. In 2010, Kenyon was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the Breaking News category for his coverage of a helicopter crash that killed 17 people off the coast of Newfoundland. Kenyon recently returned to the Star after a stint as a general assignment reporter at the National Post. He has a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Commerce from UBC.


JESSE HIRSH is an internet strategist, researcher and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada. As a freelance journalist, he’s been doing radio and television work for a decade and a half, having worked for CFRB, Jazz FM, TVO, Global TV, Citytv, Rogers, OMNI, and MuchMusic. Currently, he has a weekly nationally syndicated column on CBC Radio explaining and analyzing the latest trends and developments in technology. Educated at the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto, his passion is educating people on the potential benefits and perils of technology.

If you are not in the Toronto area or are unable to attend, there will be live online coverage at http://live.j-source.ca or the webcast will be available after the fact at http://cjf-fjc.ca/forums.htm. You can also follow #cjfforums on Twitter.