Compared to our neighbor across the bay, Oakland typically doesn’t have too much to show off when it comes to innovative online media. Sure, there are a few great bloggers like George Kelley, Mari, Afrogeek, and Cyrus Farivar, and at least one excellent podcast by Britt Bravo, but simply put, we’re still no San Francisco.

You might have been fooled, however, if you were at the Online News Association conference this week in Toronto. The only project to win two awards at the conference was Not Just A Number, a stunning Flash-based map mashup that uses multimedia to turn the one-page print obituaries of Oakland’s many homicide victims into incredibly powerful chronicles of each person’s life, community, and family. Katy and Sean – the site’s creators – are uber-talented and, glancing at the conference’s job boards, obviously in high demand. But still, they volunteer their time to go out and record each of these stories.

Fellow News Challenge winners and Oakland residents Chris O’Brien and Paul Grabowicz were also there. Chris’ project focuses on North Carolina, but Paul’s is trying to recreate Oakland’s 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s jazz scene with an online video game. It has a touch of personal relevance to me since Grandpa Sasaki used to frequent Sweet’s Ballroom (just two blocks down from my office) and other jazz clubs in the area.

Poff Daddy was in the house. Kim was a fellow Oakland resident before selling out to LA and heading up Pop&Politics. And I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if there were other Oakland peoples at the conference that I didn’t get a chance to meet.

All of this Oakland talent in one place has me thinking that we need to start something like Ignite Seattle!, but in Oakland. The tough part is finding the perfect venue. Somewhere (not a bar) with wi-fi that is geek friendly, but also DJ/music and alcohol friendly.

I forget the exact format rules of Ignite Seattle, but I do remember that I liked them. I think that each presentation is allowed to have no more than 20 slides and that each slide can last for now longer than one minute. The idea is to get people who have great ideas all together to talk about their work and to network.

Some potential Oakland presentations:

It would be cool to have a panel discussion on Oakland metroblogging too with the various authors of NovoMetro, Grand Lake Guardian, Oakland Focus, Oakland Magazine Blog, Oakland’s Future, and Oakland Goods. What are they trying to accomplish? How can they help one another? How do they each interact with city hall? Are there success stories of blogging leading to social change?

Can I get a witness?