#ASCJatONA: Alumni in action

This week, more than 2,000 digital journalists will attend the sold-out 2015 Online News Association conference. Among them are USC Annenberg students and faculty members, as well as distinguished alumni.

USC Annenberg alumna Catherine Cloutier will be attending the conference for the fifth time, and will be working with the social curation team, live-blogging the entire conference.

Courtesy of Catherine Cloutier.

Cloutier, who is a reporter for The Boston Globe, will also be speaking on a panel about ONA’s local organizations. Cloutier and several others lead the Boston-area ONA group, coordinating meet-ups and other ONA-sponsored events for journalists in the area.

“It’s a variety of things, but we just try to keep media people here in Boston in touch on a fairly regular basis,” Cloutier said. “We’re going to be talking about how you can plan those events, host them, and best practices, during the panel.”

Cloutier, who graduated from USC Annenberg’s Journalism Master’s program in 2011 with a specialization in digital journalism, said she enjoys attending the conference because it forces her to think about “what’s going on in the industry on a larger scale.”

“It’s a great way to meet other people in the industry and to think ‘big picture’ for a while,” Cloutier said. “We don’t necessarily get that in our day to day jobs.”

Fellow alumna Laura Davis will also be attending the conference. She is a panelist at USC Annenberg’s sponsored session, “Preparing for the Next Jobs in Journalism.”

Simply knowing about digital journalism is not enough anymore, Davis said. The panel will expand on how people can use what they know to prepare for the “next wave of jobs in the industry.”

Davis graduated from USC Annenberg with a B.A. in journalism (print and digital) in 2008 and has since worked as a social media editor and a mobile editor. She now works on Buzzfeed’s mobile news app.

She said she often gets asked if she always planned on working in the mobile and digital space when she graduated and she responds: “No, because these jobs didn’t exist when I graduated from school.”

Her goal for the panel is to give young journalists some practical advice about careers in digital storytelling, starting with being open to myriad career paths.

“The industry right now is changing at a lightning pace,” Davis said. “The idea that you have of what you want to do, it’s great that you have a goal, but you really need to make sure you’re keeping an open mind.”

This post is subject to change as we hear about other alumni participating in the 2015 ONA Conference. If you’re a USC Annenberg alum participating in ONA, tweet us @USCAnnenberg using #ASCJatONA.