Yesterday saw the 7th edition of BlogWalk in Mechelen, Belgium. It was a pleasant gathering, although in my opinion it lacked some focus on the theme we set: civic journalism. The conversations were broad and wide, and some very basic questions that in my mind were already dealt with surfaced.

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First round of conversations, on the wall the post-it ‘wiki’ grows.

Not surprising, given the fact that this group was largely new to BlogWalk, and largely also to eachother. This certain lack of shared context should have been countered more by me through adding a bit more structure. The group discussion we did in the second part of the afternoon was valuable to bring earlier conversations together though, and served us well as it did in Nuremberg last year. In that sense it was a pity that several people had to leave early (as it was a pity that some people were delayed on arrival, missing the general introduction), as that would probably have helped them in getting a more complete picture of the event.

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Lunch in the Hogeschool Mechelen, continuing our exchanges

As BlogWalk grows as a series, we will have to rethink our organisational template a bit, in terms of preparation and introducing the participants to the event and eachother. I did use the introduction to explain Open Space, and let people introduce themselves. But I could have taken more time to set the stage for the theme civic journalism. The latter however would have been a totally new component, as usually we never spend time on the theme before opening up the conversations. Time for a discussion with Lilia Efimova and Sebastian Fiedler, my co-initiators of BlogWalk.
Afterwards Elmine and I had an early dinner with Maarten Schenk, Dorien Aerts and Niels Hendriks. Niels had valuable contributions in giving the group discussion momentum, and also agreed with me on the lack of focus.
As usual the pictures and transcription of the post-its will be available in the Blogwalk Wiki
Thanks to Tom de Bruijne, Clo Willaerts and Maarten Schenk for helping with the local organisation!
This is the list of the 19 participants:
Clo Willaerts (http://babynox.blogspot.com)
Maarten Schenk ( http://maarten.typepad.com/ )
Tom de Bruyne ( http://www.memori.be/WEBLOG/ )
Jelle Van den Bergh ( http://www.memori.be/WEBLOG/, http://www.jel.be)
Elmine Wijnia (http://elmine.wijnia.com/)
Ton Zijlstra (http://blog.zylstra.org)
Paul Kersmaekers (http://www.polskaya.be)
Jeroen Steeman (http://www.minitrue.nl)
Hans Mestrum (http://hmestrum.blogs.com/ )
Bram Souffreau (http://www.kapingamarangi.be)
Niels Hendriks
Bartel Volckaert (http://www.journalinks.be)
Francisco Van Jole (http://www.2525.com)
Dorien Aerts (http://theonehitwonder.blogspot.com)
Sven De Haeck (http://www.internetjournalistiek.be)
Brice Le Blevennec (http://www.brice.org)
Manja Dorlandt
Henk Van Ess (http://www.voelspriet.nl/wie.htm)
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