Kris Krüg presents to sold-out crowd on the ‘ReMixology’ of new media

Vancouver's new media cult gather for the launch of new FreshMedia dialogue series at the W2 in Gastown.

Credit: Sean Cranbury & Hans Peter Meyer

Kris Krüg presents to sold-out crowd on the ‘ReMixology’ of new media at FreshMedia at the W2 in Vancouver

Local photographer Kris Krüg discusses citizen journalism with Vancouver’s new media community at premiere of innovative new dialogue series FreshMedia at W2


Speaking to a sold-out room at the W2 Storyeum in Gastown, Vancouver photographer-slash-citizen journalist-slash-web strategist-slash-“Renaissance Man 2.0” Kris Krüg commanded the room like a rock star. He was in his element.

The crowd of giddy young media makers, artists, activists and social media types listened with rapt attention as he discussed his experience in June shooting the oil-stained Gulf coast and the people most affected by the BP oil spill—as well as the media blackout he was there to agitate. They ate up the tragedy, they furrowed their brows at the hypocrisy, and they laughed like maniacs as Kris related the folly of mainstream media’s attempts to comprehend why a professional photographer would offer up his portfolio of extraordinary, rare photography for free, for anyone to use, under “something called a Creative Commons license” on Flickr.  

It was the first of what I can only hope will be a long-running series at the W2, called FreshMedia: “a celebration of innovation and independent media, and a re-imagining of media and journalism in Canada.” Moderated by Vancouver Sun Digital Life columnist Gillian Shaw, herself a social media celebrity among this particular set, the topic—”Toward Cooperative Media Making: How can professional and citizen journalists collaborate?”—ignited much passion from both its spirited evangelist (Kris) and its willful adopters (the audience).


Vancouver FreshMedia Kris Krug Twitter #ReMixology

The evening’s in-person event was paralleled by a live Twitter discussion, which was projected on the screen behind the podium. Photo by Hans Peter Meyer.

The evening’s format—with Kris presenting followed by loosely moderated questions and answers from the audience—created for a lively event, one especially attuned to today’s new media environment.

Running parallel to Kris’s presentation, a specially hashtagged Twitter discussion (#ReMixology) streamed behind him on a projected screen, revealing the audience’s reactions, with choice quotes, links for more information about the points Kris was making and the occasional fawning bit of fandom. Within 20 minutes, #ReMixology was a Trending Topic for Vancouver, which prompted several tweets from folks outside the event to wonder, “uh, what’s #Remixology? #clueless.

Adjacent to the Twitter discussion was the projection of Kris’s computer screen with his browser displaying umpteen open tabs, which he flipped between throughout his talk. These included his own pages (Flickr, his blog, professional site, etc.) and National Geographic and TEDxOilSpill Expedition posts, as well as media outlets, big and small, where his oil spill photography was featured (plus one containing a slideshow/interview for Granville Online’s YouTube channel by yours truly!).


Vancouver Fresh Media Kris Krug Gillian Shaw Q&A #ReMixology

Kris Krüg (far right) engages the audience on the role of new media practitioners in relation to beat reporters. Gillian Shaw (near right) moderates the discussion. Photo by Sean Cranbury,

After the presentation, an extended Q&A gave the audience an opportunity to ask questions spanning the whole spectrum of the topic of citizen journalism and collaboration: from (I’m paraphrasing) ‘how the hello do you make money giving your shots away for free, Kris?’ to ‘how do we reconcile the need for professional journalists who stay with a subject for years, and become experts, with the need for adhoc citizen journalists who bomb all over the globe shooting important world events to share for free?’

Chiming in from the audience, it was The Tyee’s David Beers who spoke to this last point, discussing his own online publication’s quest to provide a space for long-form journalism that can fund beat reporters while maintaining independence.

‘To really cover a topic properly, and provide value, you have to be with it for years and be willing to wade through all the boring details,’ he said (again paraphrased).

His response seemed to sober the crowd—rightly—putting a fine point on the vulnerability of citizen journalism to the whims and inexperience of its new practitioners, however important their role in the media landscape might be.

It was especially interesting to see how Kris himself received David’s answer, a cloud of deep reflection shadowing his face. I’ll be curious to observe how the energetic new media storyteller integrates this lesson into his next forays into photo reportage.


Gillian Shaw David Beers Stephen Hui at ReMixology

Gillian Shaw (left) of the Vancouver Sun, David Beers (centre) of The Tyee, Stephen Hui (right, green shirt) of the Georgia Straight and Jonathan Hanley (far right, orange shorts) of the Vancouver Observer were in attendance at the FreshMedia event. Photo by Sean Cranbury,

Another interesting moment came when it was pointed out that there was no representation present from any mainstream media outlets. Granville, Georgia Straight, Vancouver Observer (and even Vancouver Is Awesome’s indie music and events contributors), but no Global, no CTV, no CBC—well, except for one intern.

Just before breaking, the audience was given the opportunity to give 20-second pitches about projects of their own, help they’re looking for and entreaties for contacts in particular areas. This proved a valuable component to the evening, providing focus to the subsequent networking and mingling in the W2’s main atrium. The projects presented were an inspiring mix of collaborative video projects and new media ventures as well as more humble requests for help in scanning old photographs (made by famed Vancouver underground music photographer Bev Davies, described by Kris as the original social media innovator pre-personal computer) and getting the word out about sustainability-related events.


Vancouver FreshMedia Remixology networking

The ReMixology crowd networks and mingles, discussing the evening’s discussion and finding ways to collaborate. Photo by Sean Cranbury,

Afterwards, over lime-infused beer and baby carrots, the crowd of us continued the evening’s discussion, finding ways to collaborate and help each other find solutions to the challenges of this new medium, the social web.

FreshMedia, the W2, Kris Krüg and Vancouver’s new media cult—this community of innovators and creative thinkers are an asset to our city and the future of media around the world. Events like last night’s are important. And historic in these times of radical revolution. The printing press was nothing compared to what lies ahead.

To learn more about FreshMedia, a project of, and upcoming events, check out their site and follow them on Twitter.

W2 Surge Exhibit Vancouver

Ooh, and before I forget, be sure to head down to the W2 Storyeum on Cordova to check out the Surge exhibit—pretty rad! On through August 28, 2010.