Archive | April, 2009

Globe and Mail Communities Editor Mathew Ingram

22 Apr

Lunch with Mary 016

Date of lunch:
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The company:
Mathew Ingram is the communities editor at The Globe and Mail. Likely a lot of people reading this blog know who Mathew Ingram is because they found their way here from his Twitter, as Mathew is far more popular on Twitter than I am. Mathew has been at the Globe and Mail since the early-nineties, starting off as a business writer then moving into covering technology, blogged for the Globe and Mail and eventually moved into his current role where he engages and connects with Globe’s readers online and also covers the state of media in the online age.


The food:
We ate at Thai Princess, a great Thai (obviously) place at King and Spadina. I made a reservation and when we got there it was empty so I thought maybe I had been overly cautious – but about 10 minutes later, the place was packed. And for good reason, the food was delish! I had my go-to Thai meal, Green Curry Chicken and Mathew had the grilled combo lunch special. We both drank water. Total bill was $23 with tax.

The lunch lesson:
Mathew said the easiest way to get others to understand the importance of Twitter, and I believe social media in general, is replace the word Twitter (or Facebook or the next thing) with “talking to people”. I’m against Twitter – changed to – I’m against talking to people. Not everyone needs to embrace these new technologies but it’s important that before they take a stand, they truly understand what they’re against. These are tools for engaging and interacting with each other – they’re not replacing in person contact, it’s a different forum, but a valuable one. Can’t we all just get along J

The lunch:
We had some great conversations over the course of lunch. One of my favourite parts was talking about Hunter S. Thompson, Mathew began reading his stuff in high school and I read pretty much all of his work during university. Mathew said what he really liked about Thompson was how powerful a writer he was… and I agree. There is something about his stuff that you can’t explain. It got me thinking of Hunter’s career as a journalist and I thought it was really interesting that Mathew was so into his writing as he was working to become a journalist himself. It made me wonder what other historic journalists are looked to by the reporters that I read every day.

We talked a lot about community engagement on Globe and Mail’s site. As a long time commenter on the articles, I was interested to hear Mathew’s plans. He hopes to create a meritocracy (I newly love this word and what it stands for). He wants to develop some sort of system that rewards good commenters in order to encourage good comments by all and also make the conversation more valuable.

Mathew pointed to the Guardian in the UK and the New York Times as publications that are doing very interesting stuff online. He told me about the Guardian giving their best online commenters their own blog on the site. I know if I could get my own blog on a newspaper’s site, I would comment a lot and well AND not use my awesome pseudonym. The New York Times, which I am obviously a fan of if you look at my Top 5 Dream Lunch List, now includes external links on their homepage – directing people away from the site sounds almost unheard of but it is a very interesting experiment.

Working in the media space and as a news junkie, I found this lunch extremely interesting as the way we receive (and engage with) news is changing day by day and Mathew is on the front line and offered up some great insight.

Going back to Hunter S. Thompson for a minute, Mathew also mentioned Christie Blatchford as another journalist who is a powerful writer. I agree and enjoy her writing. Mathew mentioned that Christie isn’t really down with blogging and Twitter so Mathew’s goal for his new role at The Globe and Mail is to get Christie Blatchord on Twitter! A noble goal indeed – good luck, if anyone can do it, you can!

Photographer Eamon MacMahon

20 Apr

Lunch with Mary 014

Date of lunch:
Monday, April 20, 2009

The company:
Eamon is a very amazing photographer. You may have seen his work in The Walrus, at Pearson in Terminal 1, New York magazine, National Geographic, Toronto Life and more and he was even featured on the Bravo television series Snapshot. I first met Eamon two years ago when working with the CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival. Since then I find myself often reading articles in a variety of magazines and then noticing that the beautiful photographs that accompany the story are by Eamon. I email him periodically to update him on where I see his work, I hope it doesn’t annoy him. Eamon often goes on “adventures” to get his photographs and I wanted to take him for lunch to hear about where he’s been and what he’s seen.

The food:
We ate at Ciros in the Bloor-Lansdowne area. It’s a bit of a strange place, like an oxymoron of itself – seemed like many opposites blended together. However the service was quick and very friendly and the food was fresh and good with enormous portions. I had chicken fingers and fries and Eamon had pad Thai with tofu. I drank diet Coke and Eamon had a cranberry juice. I have also learned after I returned from lunch that it has one of the city’s best beer selections – neither of us drank beer but I might return now that I know this. Total bill was $28 with tax.

The lunch lesson:
I don’t know if this is a lesson exactly, but I always find it refreshing to meet and talk with someone who knows what their passion is and have found a way to do it for a living. It’s something I wish that everyone is able to do with their lives. It’s actually something that is becoming a theme with the people I take out to lunch.

The lunch:
As mentioned above, Eamon always seems to be on an adventure. I had originally asked Eamon for lunch back in early March but got an auto-reply that he would not have access to email until the end of the month. So first things first, I had to ask him what he was up to. Nonchalantly, Eamon tells me that he was helping a friend deliver a sailboat… from the Galapagos to HAWAII! Who does that? So awesome. For anyone who knows me well, knows that I love animals and would be in HEAVAN in the Galapagos and I love beaches A LOT, so Hawaii would also be a dream. The 31 days of open-sea sailing without seeing land, those who know me would also know, I would not love that at all.

One of my favourite series of photos that Eamon does is his Aerials – taking photos from planes and helicopters over forests, Alberta’s tar sands, glaciers, oceans, communities and more. You can check them out under the aerial section of his site. With a pilot friend that he works with, Eamon also often flies into landlocked communities where he meets the people and photographs their lives. Again, check out his site under the Landlocked project.

For a New York magazine story, Eamon went to Wasilla, Alaska during the height of last year’s presidential campaign, two weeks after Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate. At the time, Palin was being made out to be a bit of a caricature and I think Wasilla and Alaska were getting a bad rep as a bit of a backwards, backwoods kind of place. Eamon said he was taken aback by the friendliness and openness of the people of Alaska and how it was quite the opposite of any stereotype that was being portrayed by the media. Seems like a place that I would like to visit.

The next adventure that Eamon is heading out on is back to the Alberta Tar Sands for a magazine story. He also plans to go to Europe this summer. Due to his success, Eamon goes from project to project and is also able to fund his own work – it’s great to see someone succeeding at something that they love so much. Like me and my lunch blog ;)