‘You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’ says famed entrepreneurial scoundrel Charlie Croker played by Michael Caine in the 1969 British gold-heist classic, The Italian Job.
The film and that infamous line – which still ranks among Britain’s most quoted – are where my thoughts turn when I think about media140’s two upcoming events at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy from April 21 to 25.
Our version may not involve gold bullion, mini-skirts or breaking into jail, but we may be just ostentatious enough to imagine it has the potential to match the movie for energy, thrills and creativity.
For those who have not had the pleasure of seeing The Italian Job, it opens with a Lamborghini winding through the alps – just as the Media140 team shall too be heading into the beautiful Italian countryside – albeit in a marginally less glamorous minivan.
Perhaps this point of difference is a good thing, as that Lamborghini meets a spectacularly explosive fate at the hands of the mafia scarce minutes into the film.
The IJF (as it is affectionately known by those wishing to save characters) brings together an eclectic throng of journalists from Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. This year’s keynote speaker is Al Gore – yes, the environmental activist who served as vice president of the United States under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001 and is oft credited with being instrumental in the rise of the Internet.
If Mr Gore is not enough reason to book your flight now, it is well worth a click-through to this list of literally dozens of international media executives, innovators and academics who will be sharing their ideas in Perugia – which is itself a vibrant hub of culture and progress.
In addition to presenting two days’ worth of speakers and panels at the IJF, Media140’s crew of specialised ‘backpacker reporters’ will cover the festival using only hand-held devices and online publishing tools. Flips, iPhones, Nokia N96s, audioBoo and Qik will be the kind of apparatus with which we break into the festival’s vault of brilliant ideas just like Croker and his crew – minus the criminality.
Lead editorially by the much more softly-spoken Claire Wardle, the Media140 team admittedly has little in common with Croker’s band of thieves apart from the unique and honed skills each one of them brings to the – err – job. Moreover, Croker had just one ‘computer specialist’ and Wardle will have a gaggle* of them.
media140 will not be blowing the doors off of anything, but we certainly plan to blow minds with a powerful fusion of social inquiry, journalism and technological exploration.
Tickets to the festival are – astonishingly – free. All you have to do is make your way to picturesque Umbria in late April, where spring will most probably just have sprung.
When Italians hope to meet again, they say ‘arrivederci’ – and that is what we bid you!
Ande Gregson – Founder, media140
*All suggestions for a collective noun for computer specialists are welcome in the comments section below …