The new media team at the Green Party Headquarters

(Also posted on p2pnet) A close friend of mine was hired to be part of the team at the National Office of the Green Party of Canada (204-396 Cooper St. in downtown Ottawa). He offered to give me a tour of the office as I was already going to be downtown.

By an interesting coincidence one of those new-media 'oops' events happened relating to a threat being sent from John Bennett, Director of Communications, to a blogger. This issue originated from something aired by TV Ontario, so was mentioned on their blog and was one of the issues discussed on The Agenda this Friday evening. (Show not even over yet, and the video of Ms. May is already online)

So, the threatening letter was an 'oops'. I was able to observe some of the discussion that was happening within party headquarters, and I came out impressed. I was being given a quick introduction to people in the office, and saw some pretty on-the-ball folks as far as new media is concerned.

They had one room full of techies with people who is specialized on Drupal (The FLOSS CMS the party uses), and another person who was on temporary leave during the election from Google (My friend is also on temporary leave from his Ottawa high-tech job to work on the election).

They have many other rooms including an area where the calls are made, a meeting room and reception that are part of the permanent office. Across the hall they are also renting during the election additional space that seems focused on election communications. They have part of a big room with a podium in the corner and one of those walls of television 5 screens showing key Canadian news networks.

I was able to speak to some of the techies about how the threatening letter will look to citizen journalists. They pretty much agreed, and planned to talk more to the folks in communications about it. After I left I received a quick note from my friend to indicate that the apology for the 'oops' had already been sent out.

Listening to the interview on The Agenda also grew my respect for Ms. May. While this type of 'oops' has caused over-reactions in other parties (IE: firing of staff), when asked about this issue by Steve Paikin she defended both John Bennett and the staffers of other parties. It is all to easy in these 'war rooms' to end up taking on an overly confrontational approach, and over-reacting to the excessively partisan posts that were coming from partisan Conservative party and NDP blogs.