Archive for the ‘Gillian Shaw’ Category

AHA MEDIA is very proud to be mentioned in Gillian Shaw’s article “Meet a Geek”

September 17, 2010 2 comments

AHA MEDIA is very proud to be in Gillian Shaw’s article “Meet a Geek” in Vancouver Sun

Gillian Shaw writes:

Got a pressing question that only a true geek can answer?

Your chance to meet a geek comes this Tuesday, September 21 at Vancouver’s first Meet the Geek event where a gourmet dinner will be served up with hearty helpings of geekery as some of the city’s top tech minds gather at The Salt Cellar to “meet, eat and give back.”

The idea behind the event, hosted by the Social Media Club Vancouver and sponsored byVancouver Food Tour, is to give the less technologically inclined a chance to get together and pose their most pressing tech questions to the experts and at the same time raise money for a worth cause.

The cause in this case is the independent documentary, With Glowing Hearts, a two-hour film that will focus on four Vancouver activists and artists living and working in the downtown eastside.

April Smith, with mobile media reporters Hendrik Beune (left), Ken Glofcheskie and Peter Davies Photograph by: Bill Keay, PNG

The documentary chronicles the impact of social media and how the four individuals saw their lives change through their social communities, both online and off. Among the participants is April Smith. Hers is an inspiring story that goes from a life in the streets to a life in which she has co-founded a social media company in the downtown eastside and uses her new media skills to help others.”

Read the rest of Gillian Shaw’s article “Meet a Geek”

AHA MEDIA thanks Gillian Shaw for always giving us support. We appreciate it so much! 🙂

AHA MEDIA is very proud to help Lorraine Murphy – Night manager/space animator of Coworking at BOB ( Building Opportunites with Business ) in Vancouver

January 12, 2010 5 comments

April Smith and Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA are  very proud to help Lorraine Murphy – AHA MEDIA’s friend, mentor and Night Manager/Space Animator of the new Coworking@BOB space 163 East Pender St in Vancouver’s Chinatown 🙂

In the photo below, Andrew “Muskie” McKay of BOB explains to Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA the lockers to be installed shortly and available to Coworking@BOB tenants

AHA MEDIA will supporting and helping out at Coworking@BOB 🙂

What we’re offering is a work surface, be it a desk, a chair, a table, a couch, or the bay window, wherever you’re most comfortable.  Of course we’ll offer wi-fi and other niceties such as an electronic white board and a projector to facilitate discussion and creative thinking. There’s a fridge for your food, a microwave, filtered water cooler, and secure storage for your bike.  The price is a flat $200 per month and includes keyless access.

We’re looking for creative professionals, progressive thinkers, the socially responsible and ecologically conscious who want to be surrounded by others of like mind.  Folks who want more than a cubicle and a 9 to 5 and dream of bigger things and a better Vancouver to call home.  If this sounds like you, contact Andrew “Muskie” McKay 778-328-7672 or write


Please read Gillian Shaw of Vancouver Sun article:


Coworking and hotdesking are growing trends with companies and individuals who are abandoning high-priced real estate in favour of more practical – and less pricey –  workspace solutions.

With inner city Vancouver home to many independent tech and creative entrepreneurs, it’s a natural for the newly opened coworking@BOB space, a shared work space created by Building Opportunities with Business, a non-profit aimed at supporting business development and job opportunities in the neighborhood.

High-ceiling, spacious and located on the main floor of a building at 163 East Pender St., the shared open space gives tenants desk space, along with chairs, tables, couches and other furnishings that distinguish it from a less inviting cubicle haven. Art on the walls from Vancouver’s Grace Gallery will be rotated regularly.

“We hope that this open shared work space can contribute to the revitalization of the inner-city by providing a space for creative professionals to flourish, for ideas to percolate, to cross pollinate, for businesses to grow, a place where stuff gets done,” reads BOB’s announcement of the new space.

Wi-Fi, a fridge, microwave, filtered water cooler and secure bike storage round out the offerings that come at a flat rate of $200 a month with keyless access to the building.


What we’re offering is a work surface, be it a desk, a chair, a table, a couch, or the bay window, wherever you’re most comfortable.  Of course we’ll offer wi-fi and other niceties such as an electronic white board and a projector to facilitate discussion and creative thinking. There’s a fridge for your food, a microwave, filtered water cooler, and secure storage for your bike.  The price is a flat $200 per month and includes keyless access.

We’re looking for creative professionals, progressive thinkers, the socially responsible and ecologically conscious who want to be surrounded by others of like mind.  Folks who want more than a cubicle and a 9 to 5 and dream of bigger things and a better Vancouver to call home.  If this sounds like you, contact Andrew “Muskie” McKay 778-328-7672 or write


Below are photos of  Andrew “Muskie” McKay of BOB and Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA giving the Thumbs Up to Coworking@BOB! 🙂

AHA MEDIA hopes to see you there soon! 🙂

Thank you for reading my recent article “April’s Story” by Gillian Shaw – Digital Life Writer of the Vancouver Sun

December 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Merry Christmas Everybody!

I would like to thank everyone who has read the recent article “April’s Story” in the Vancouver Sun Newspaper by Gillian Shaw, Digital Life Writer

In my article in the Vancouver Sun which came out yesterday, Christmas Eve 2009, I reveal my personal journey of homelessness,  struggles, poverty, my efforts to do Citizen Journalism and Mobile Media Reporting with AHA MEDIA and the volunteer mentoring of other folks in basic Media training in Vancouver Downtown Eastside

If you have not read my article in the Vancouver Sun, please click on the link

It has been a really tough year for us at AHA MEDIA and we are seeking donations of electronic gear and equipment  so we may continue to build our community capacity to do mobile media reporting in Vancover and Downtown Eastside

FIDO Pay as You Go Phone Cards for cell phones,

Digital cameras,

SD memory cards,


Video cameras,

Audio equipment

We are also looking for donations of warm clothing and food items for our friends and neighbors in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside at the LifeSkills Centre near Oppenheimer Park where we volunteer at

Wish List of Christmas Donations by members of AHA MEDIA and LifeSkills Centre

If you would like to donate FIDO Pay as you go Phone Cards, Electronic Gear and Equipment, Warm Clothing and Food to us at AHA MEDIA and for other folks in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, please email me

Email: or  through Twitter or Facebook

Thank you very much and have a Merry Christmas! 🙂

April Smith of AHA MEDIA is a featured storyline in ” With Glowing Hearts” – WGH the Movie

December 22, 2009 6 comments

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This storyline is from the Documentary ‘With Glowing Hearts‘. It follows April Smith on her journey building AHA Media as the preeminent news source for Vancouver’s DTES using social media for social justice. Along the way April faces many challenges including homelessness

” April Smith is an incredible young woman facing a boat load of challenges.  She has graciously allowed us to follow her for the last 8 months and gather the footage we used to compile this story thread. Hers is a story full of both despair and inspiration. ”

A Social Media revolution has been brewing for the past five years on websites from FaceBook, to Wikipedia, to Flickr, and as it spreads throughout the Internet and into popular culture through an increasing number of portals, it is creating a new sense of community and empowerment amongst those who have embraced it.

History has shown that poor and marginalized communities stand to gain the most from leaps forward in the democratization of information, so the excitement in areas like Vancouver’s maligned Downtown Eastside about the possibilities of Web 2.0 and beyond is palpable.

With the Winter Olympics less than a year away, billions have been spent in preparations and many poverty advocates are concerned about how the city’s several thousand homeless and working poor will fit into the equation as Vancouver puts on its best face for the world.

Against this background the film examines Social Media in action as a group named Fearless City embarks on a campaign to empower and protect its neighbours with cellphones, video-streaming, and the World Wide Web.

With great thanks to Director Andrew Lavigne and Producer Jon Ornoy !

You may contact April Smith via Twitter or Facebook

April Smith of AHA MEDIA is very honored to be featured by Gillian Shaw – Digital Life Writer for The Vancouver Sun Newspaper on Christmas Eve 2009

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment



As it comes time to wrap up 2009, I wanted to share the story of a journalist who has inspired me this year.

A citizen journalist – April Smith, who is making an impact not only for her work chronicling the news and stories of Vancouver’s inner city but also for giving back to her community by mentoring others.

April didn’t graduate from any journalism program. Hers was truly the school of hard knocks and her background one of hardship.

I first met April at WordCamp Whistler last January. She was a grad of the Downtown Eastside’s Fearless City Mobile project, which helped residents and artists of the neighborhood learn to tell stories through mobile media.

At the time April said the experience had been ‘life-changing.’

“I have moved from one side of the tracks to the other,” she told me.

The other side of the tracks was pretty ugly. It was a life of homelessness and struggling to survive on the streets.

April shares her story with eloquence and honesty that is all the more compelling because it is free of self-pity. Her optimism for the future is what comes through loud and clear.

You can listen to Vancouver’s CBC radio did with April. And you see her at work in an episode of With Glowing Hearts the Movie. She is @AprilFilms on Twitter. -April Smith storyline from Andrew Lavigne on Vimeo.

The mentoring April received is being returned to the community many times over with the creation of AHA Media, a fledgling new media company started by April along with Hendrik Beune and Al Tkatch – AHA coming from the first letters of their names.

April is teaching and mentoring others in the Downtown Eastside, sharing her skills and enthusiasm in the hope of offering alternatives that will help improve lives.

April lives in a single room in the DTES and carries out her work and volunteering on a shoestring budget – no shoestring might be too generous to describe it. When I talk to April on the phone, I know that it’s using up precious minutes that she must buy to recharge her cell phone. I recently found out that the Nokia video phone that April was using in her work was borrowed and had to be returned. So I asked her what she needs to carry on.

While it has been a tough year for media organizations, not many list food and warm clothing on their wish list, but those are among the items AHA Media, which does volunteer peer training at the LifeSkills Centre near Oppenheimer Park, is seeking for its DTES neighbors.

The organization also needs: FIDO Pay as You Go Phone Cards for cell phones, digital cameras, SD memory cards, laptop and desktop computers, video cameras and audio equipment.

If you have any of these things kicking around, consider sharing them with others who will pay it forward many times over.

Mobile Media Strategies by Irwin Oostindie and April Smith at Fresh Media event at W2 Perel Gallery

October 24, 2009 Leave a comment

W2 Community Media Arts  is hosting Fresh Media festival ,  happening right  now at W2 Perel Gallery 112 West Hastings by Abbott in Vancouver

Fresh Media Time Table



Irwin Oostindie and April Smith spoke on Mobile Media Strategies –  and gave a live demonstration on Qik software livestreaming using WIFI on a Nokia N95 cellphone

Mobile Media Workshop

Below is a photo of Irwin Oostindie speaking on different applications with mobile media. Jon Ornoy and Riel of Animal Mother Films together with Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA listen

Jon, Riel, Peter, Irwin


Below is a photo of April Smith after being livestreamed to play onto Qik’s website on a Mac Book Pro from an Nokia N95

April on Screen


Below is a photo of April Smith discussing Livestream Video links being embeded into websites with Yuliya Talmazan

April wth Yuliya


Below is a photo of Anne Marie Slater – Artist/Photographer and Curator of a Children’s Photo/Video Walk exhibit using Cellphone Cameras,

April Smith of W2,

and Gillian Shaw – Digital Life Journalist for the Vancouver Sun Newspaper

Anne Marie, April, Gillian

AHA MEDIA is very proud to be featured in Gillian Shaw’s article on Social Media as a new Olympic Event

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

With many humble thanks to Gillian Shaw of the Vancouver Sun for her article

The other games: Tweeters, videographers …

From bloggers to citizen journalists, the way we see and experience the Games has changed

AHA MEDIA in Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER – Social media is the new Olympic event, with the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games giving Vancouver’s fast-growing social media community a chance to showcase its talents and technology.

While the Olympic movement is taking small steps into a world where conventional news services share an online space in which everyone is a publisher and producer, Vancouver’s grassroots social media is already seen as a forerunner.

The upcoming Games are giving rise to a range of social media offerings from the official 2010 hosts to contributions from citizen journalists, tweeters, bloggers and online video producers who will share their city and their Olympic experience with the world.

April Smith is already a winner and the games haven’t even started.

Once homeless in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, the 24-year-old Smith – known as AprilFilms on Twitter – has turned her life around thanks to a mentoring program that taught her new media skills ranging from web design to mobile video. Equipped with a video-enabled cellphone, Smith will be participating in the Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition, part of the 2010 celebrations.

“New media has meant a new life for me,” said Smith, who has co-founded AHA Media, a fledgling startup that fosters new media learning among downtown eastside residents.

“Back in the day I, lived in and out of the most horrible places you could think of. I was living on the edge. It really has been the saving grace to do computer work and have a home where I can lock the door.”

The stepping stone for Smith came in the form of the Fearless City Mobile Project, an initiative in which residents and artists of the downtown eastside receive training in mobile media and use their new-found skills to document stories and issues in their neighbourhood.

“There was support for me that helped me change my life,” said Smith. “I’m now teaching basic media skills to others to help them make the transition, to go on to a different future.

“It opens doors for them.”

As a Fearless City Mobile project co-ordinator, Smith is participating in Fearless City’s CODE Live and Bright Lights editions. The projects will include streaming videos created by local residents and shown on giant screens at W2, a community media arts centre opening this winter.

It’s that community conversation – a dialogue – that separates social media from conventional media and it’s a transition that the International Olympic Committee is grappling with.

Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, recently told the IOC that interactive online content is crucial in attracting young audiences today.

The Olympic movement is adding its own contributions to the social media offerings, but it is a step forward that is not without its stumbles. Most recently, the IOC sent a cease-and-desist letter to Richard Giles for sharing photos from his trip to the 2008 Beijing Games on Flickr.

While the IOC was quick to defend its position, the incident is a sharp reminder of the pitfalls and challenges facing both sides in adapting to new technologies.

“It really comes down to fair play,” said Graeme Menzies, director of online communications for Vanoc. “If somebody is trying to take advantage, then that’s not OK. But if people are saying we love this, we think it’s great, we want to talk about it and share it, that’s awesome stuff.”

Menzies said his organization is recognizing the popularity of social media tools and integrating them into its newly relaunched website.

While the global Olympic movement is starting to shift attention to social media, critics say progress is slow and opportunities to showcase Vancouver have been missed.

“Vanoc has been reaching out to the community to better understand social media, but it has been slow to adopt it,” said Kris Krug, a W2 director and Fearless City Mobile mentor, who participated in symposiums at both the Turin and Beijing Olympics on how new media is changing coverage of the Games.

“Citizens, athletes and corporations will all be making media, whether it’s part of Vanoc’s official strategy or not.”

Krug, along with Dave Olson and W2 executive director Irwin Oostindie and other new media veterans in Vancouver, is organizing the True North Media House, a grassroots campaign aimed at encouraging social media coverage of Olympic sporting and cultural events.

“I have done quite a few presentations on how grassroots media-makers can embrace the Olympics,” said Olson, who said the 2012 Summer Games and 2016 Winter Games organizers are already demonstrating a “more progressive” approach to social media.

“I have been saying, come on Vancouver we can help facilitate this sea change in the way media is consumed,” he said. “The motivation for me is because I work in this field here in Vancouver, but also as an Olympic enthusiast.”

Olson said the True North Media House has garnered international attention but it faces funding challenges.

“We have talked to the BBC, CNN – people from all over the world are contacting us,” he said. “There is a tremendous amount of interest in a grassroots project like this.”

Vancouver Sun

RESOURCES updates from the Vanoc communications team updates from 2010 broadcast partner Twitter profile of the True North Media House, a project aimed at giving social media practitioners a centre for the 2010 Games. official Facebook page for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games with link to Torch Relay interactive site. updates from W2 Community Media Arts, a participant in the Cultural Olympiad. Vanoc’s YouTube site one of many social media sites that have picked up on Olympic-related names, this Twitter profile named for Quatchi, a 2010 mascot, bills its bio as “NO GAMES ON STOLEN NATIVE LAND!,” but has been quiet except for a few tweets. website for student social media participation in the 2010 Olympics.