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'Internet Week' digital-culture fest to hit NY in June

New York City will become a digital-media paradise from June 3 to 10, thanks to the mayor's office and the organizers of the annual Webby Awards.

It might not be Austin's South by Southwest Interactive, but New York City will be getting its own digital-culture festival.

Called Internet Week New York (OK, they could have picked a better name), it will span June 3 to 10 and encompass several existing events like Federated Media Publishing's Conversational Marketing Summit, Advertising Age's Advertising 2.0 conference, and the 12th annual Webby Awards.

In addition, a number of tech and media companies--PaidContent, Flavorpill, The Onion, Thrillist, and Nokia, to name a few--have announced preliminary plans to host events in conjunction.

The office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself a local tech baron, has officially sanctioned the festival. "It will capture the energy, diversity, and creative spirit that are a hallmark of both New York City and the Internet," a statement from Bloomberg read.

Hosting a week of technology events isn't entirely new for the city, as it has traditionally held a "Digital Technology Week" in conjunction with Ziff Davis Media's annual DigitalLife gadget expo. But with last year's DigitalLife a disappointment, and Ziff Davis' future uncertain, it's an apt time for the city to shake up its showcasing of the local tech industry. And with a focus on new media and entertainment, Internet Week will be a more accurate portrayal of what actually goes on in Gotham, rather than centering on a hardware trade show in which most of the products are brought in from out of town.

In addition to Bloomberg's office, Internet Week is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Webby Awards. The festival's "executive council," meanwhile, is a who's-who of Gotham digital media: among its ranks are About.com CEO Scott Meyer, TreeHugger founder Graham Hill, Greycroft Partners czar Alan Patricof, former AOL exec and current Pilot Group investor Bob Pittman, NBC Universal digital chief George Kliavkoff, and CondeNet President Sarah Chubb.

Despite its A-list leadership, the organizers of Internet Week have said that as an homage to the "open structure" of the Web, anyone can create an event in conjunction with the festival for free.

"The event can take whatever form you imagine," the Internet Week site promises, "within the boundaries of good taste, of course."