The Unconference

Attytood Good to see that Attytood sports a new sig for the new era - one of blogger Will Bunch holding out his coffee cup. He looks like he should be sitting on the curb outside the Wawa.

We might kid, but we love what he's done with the space. He's trying to save The Daily News and doesn't mind if he saves The Inquirer in the process.

We can thank Bunch for the Unconference that's taking place Saturday at Penn's Annenberg School of Communications, where participants will mull over what sort of media can survive this time of dizzying change and economic uncertainty.

No one's prepared any speeches. There is no panel. Ideas are supposed to bubble up from the crowd, and it's an interesting crowd of newspaper scribes, bloggers, editors, publishers, academics, web wizards and, gasp, readers. The guest list includes Annenberg dean Michael Delli Carpini, Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine, local lefty bloggers Atrios, Suburban Guerrilla and Dragonball Yee, Inquirer editorial page editor Chris Satullo, honcho Fred Mann, me, people from Philly, Philly IMC -- all sorts of natural allies and adversaries getting together to talk about a host of problems and opportunities.

Either a classic democratic forum or a raging egofest. Either way, interesting.

The conference sprang from a post Bunch made on his blog in October, as Knight Ridder was preparing to cut 25 journalism jobs at the Daily News and 100 at the Inquirer:

We are, and can continue to be, the front-line warriors of information -- serving up the most valuable commodity in a media-driven era. But that means we must be the message, not the medium, and so we must adjust to give consumers news in the high-tech ways that they are asking for, not the old-tech way that we are comfortable with.

If we don’t change, we will die – and it will be our fault.

He called the news organization of the 21st Century "The Norg," a resilient, responsive machine that would train its sound, motion and light on the issues that matter most.

And the idea might have gone to its quiet death in Google archives were it not for Karl Martino, who runs the news collaborative called Philly Future in his spare time. Martino, a tireless idealist, has been emailing a growing list of new media players ever since, hoping people would want to do something more than fire off smart replies.

That something is to happen from 9 to 5 Saturday in Room 500 of the Annenberg School, at 36th and Walnut Sts. About 40 people say they plan to attend.

A lot of Bunch's energy was focused on saving the Daily News, which some media analysts had marked as the biggest target for cost cutting. Since then, much has changed. Under pressure from institutional stockholders, Knight Ridder has agreed to sell its 32 newspapers to McClatchy, but the new owner decided to divest itself of a dozen properties, including The Daily News and the Inquirer. Everything's in play; everything's at stake.

If you are interested in the Unconference, email Participation required.

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