Candidates Cafe 2018

There was a third all candidates thingy on Oct 13, 2018.

The previous forums took place at the auditorium in the high school, this one was in the upstairs of the curling rink.

Previous forums had a single speaker / audience dynamic. Well, except for the Mayoral Candidates one which had no questions from the audience.

This ‘café-style’ event had a small audience for each candidate, basically 4 or 5 chairs around a small café table. The public were free to ask questions and the candidate answer. On regular intervals a bell was rung and participants urged to switch to another table with another candidate,

The final part of the event was a debate between the candidates for Mayor. Some prepared questions but also questions from the floor.

We had hoped to live-stream the event but technical issues prevented that from working out. We were reduced to streaming from a cellphone, through another cellphone and that eventually died when the batteries ran out.

In a small number of conversations with some of the candidates it appeared that the format worked so maybe we’ll try it again sometime. Like in 4 years or so.

We’d hoped to stream some of the individual candidate Q&A’s and some bits were recorded . . . but in the reviewing there was a marked difference in the quality of the audio that had to do with which part of the room the candidate was located.

The audio from recordings in the larger space at the west end were much easier to listen to than those from the longer and narrower space extending east. Whether that was down to the distance to the neighbouring candidate’s conversations or the distance to the walls is still a matter of conjecture at this time.

But the feeling was that it wouldn’t be fair to show the recordings and have viewers’ opinions possibly shaped by an implicit bias formed because of the quality (or lack there-of) of the audio. Difficult to listen to audio might reflect badly on a candidate irrespective of what was said.

So we won\t be showing those recordings. Another reason to come out to the real live event – you don’t miss as much.

If and when we try this again we’ll be better prepared with better microphones – that might help isolate the speaker’s voice from the background. As long as they wait for the mic to point at them first that is . . .

All in all it was a big learning experience. People learned a few things they wanted to know from the candidates themselves instead of relying on the rumour mill. The candidates learned things about what’s important to the voters. And we learned a few lessons about how to do events like this.

It takes a team.

Thank you Shawna Reichelt for being a moderator and the MC, Ted Invictus and Christopher Stevenson for being moderators, Thomas Reichelt for technical and camera work (and cleaning the tables) and ‘roadie’ Lorraine Van Boeyen.

And for instigating a forum where the public could ask all the candidates, even those running for Mayor, questions . . . thank you Gary Smith and all the candidates who attended and helped make it happen. Thank you for taking a different dance with the democratic process.

 

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