Interesting people I've met at WAN (Part 1)

Rob Jonas – Google Media & Publishing head for EMEA. Tracked him down in the tent after I chaired his session at the Digital Round Table on Sunday. Vincent and I had quite a long chat about Google documents, Google ads (his lips were sealed on commissions) and the other stuff. He resolved to look at and give us feedback. Nice guy, approachable. He did a good speech which made page two of the Cape Times on Tuesday.

Dave Panos, CEO & Founder of Pluck. Vincent and I accosted him after his presentation and asked him to have a look at Amatomu. We co-incidentally sat together at the lunch later and Dave gave us an interesting rundown of what his happening at Pluck. I had registered with blogburst some time back when it first launched, but wasn’t sure if I had done it properly. Dave resolved to check the ranking of this blog in Pluck’s Blogburst.

Martha Stone, Director at Shaping the Future of the Newspaper. Martha was also in the session that I chaired and very interesting to chat to and get insights on THE FUTURE.

Rebecca MacKinnon, Global Voices …seem to bump into Rebecca alot these days at conferences all over teh world. Last saw her at the We Media conference in London. Hope to meet up with her later.

Rob Burke from – Rob’s the boss of the Paris-based editor’s weblog which has become the main authority on media news and issues for journalists around the world. He did an interview with me and I had to confess that the Mail & Guardian is actually a pretty poor example of online-print integration. Possibly has something to do with the fact that the newspaper is a weekly, and the website — of course — is a daily.

Oliver Luft, news editor at He’s Jemima Kiss’s replacement. Vincent Maher and myself did an interview around some of the crazy/stupid/innovative things we are doing on M&G Online and some of our future plans. I did a brief presentation with Ferial, M&G editor in chief, at the World Editors Forum and it seemed to have sparked some interest. Nice guy.

Mike van Niekerk, editor in chief of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age (Australia). I was quite keen to meet him as I knew he was coming here and I am a regular visitor to his sites and have always liked their design and approach (modelling the much-needed M&G Online redesign after them). Turns out he’s brother of Philip van Niekerk, former Mail & Guardian editor… looking forward to catching up with him more later. Really enjoyed his presentation on the integration process they went through.

Jean-Yves Chainon from the editor’s — Briefly bumped into him on Monday and hope to see him again soon. Looks like he is a party animal. Had first met him when he interviewed us a couple of months back as a precursor to the WAN conference.

Anton Harber & Irwin Manoim — Bumped into the old media veterans at the Cape Town Castle. Did a bit of reminiscing with both of them about the shareholder issues at M&G Online. Anton’s Wits students are the engines behind at this conference.

Mondli Makanya — Editor in Chief Sunday Times. Mondli was part of yesterday’s panel who were bashing online media, as not exhibiting the same high quality as found in print media. Always like bumping into Mondli, who is always up for a drink. He said he was very impressed with the name of our blog aggregator, “amatomu”, which is Zulu for “reigns” (as in horses).

Justin Arenstein, African Eye News Service – always nice to meet up with the subversive Justin Arenstein. He never lets you forget what you say.

Francois Nel from Journalism Leaders Programme at the Lancashire Business School – who is always interesting to chat to and accused Vincent and myself of going out for global domination. Ahem.

Rhys Johnstone – from IOL. Our competitor. We filled him with drinks and then got him to spill the beans on IOL’s future strategies. We also planted some false information with him on M&G Online’s future plans 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks (2)

  1. […] Following on from Part One… […]

  2. […] Rob Jonas was at the WAN conference in Cape Town last year and spoke at the Digital Round Table, which I chaired. He’s a nice guy, reminding me a bit of James Bond, actually. If I remember correctly, his presentation was well received, although Google was both slammed and praised at the conference. […]