Third Tuesday Toronto took place last night with CBC Radio ‘s Jesse Brown , host of the excellent and thought provoking Search Engine . Jesse’s also one of the guys behind which is a website that lets you create comics online. I like how Jesse explained the concept as being like blogging was for writing. But I digress.

What is Search Engine?

It’s definitely not your typical tech news show. The idea for the show came from the fact that Jesse noticed the interesting tech stuff (copyright, jailing bloggers, etc.) wasn’t talked about in mainstream media. That’s what makes his show stand out (and be really, really popular and win awards).

Items of interest Jesse talked about

What we currently see in Africa is a good indication of what the future of news may be– on cellphones. People sending each other news via sms (ex: news about the China earthquake broke out on Twitter)

The government department in China which watches over Internet doesn’t have any contact information. No phone number, no e-mail address, not even a PR department.

Jesse was a concerned about interviewing a Chinese blogger who has the police all over him (pretty much making his and his wife’s lives difficult). However, the blogger welcomes it. As long as people are talking about him, he is safe.

The Russian government pays bloggers to spread misinformation about others. While it looks like it’s coming from regular people, it’s actually propaganda.

Will print media disappear? No, but it will only decrease. I agree. Jesse explained that has experience-based technologies improve making it easier for us to download the latest news, we won’t necessarily need a print version of the newspaper. The New York Times was mentioned by the Third Tuesday host as an example of this. They have web-only features and recently got rid of their subscription-only areas (the Globe and Mail, too).

Items of interest about Search Engine

The podcast audience (25,000) is dwarfed by those listening on the radio (300,000). However, the great majority of interaction comes from the podcast listeners. Why? The immediacy of radio no longer exists. Most of CBC Radio’s audience is over 35 years old with the majority being over 60.

Search Engine’s Facebook group had been the most useful. For example, Jesse can see where members live by location. After a member living in China alerted him that the CBC website had been blocked, Jesse asked members living all over China to let him know if the CBC and Radio-Canada websites were blocked (censorship in China happens on both the federal and provincial level).

Items of interest about the CBC

CBC’s mandate is to tell stories about Canadians. Social media challenged the CBC’s relevancy as thousands of blogs, podcasts, etc., are out there by Canadians telling their stories. So they jumped on the social media tools to their advantage. Kudos to the CBC!

To paraphrase: "any kid in his basement has more tools to create media than the CBC". I feel his pain. The context of this is going through all the red tape and technological limitations of any corporation. My day job included. Very frustrating.