The Online News Association’s annual conference, a meeting of digital journalism’s best minds, is coming to Los Angeles Sept. 24-26, and USC Annenberg will be represented in spades.
“It’s an opportunity for us to show some swagger and show the things that we’re doing,” professor Robert Hernandez said. “We at [USC] Annenberg, we’re sponsors for this conference because it’s in our, kind of, backyard, all the way on the West side.”
Hernandez, who is on the ONA board and is a co-chair of this year’s conference, added that USC Annenberg, as an entity that has helped shape Los Angeles, has an obligation to be a “good host” for this year’s conference.
He is leading part of that initiative by taking part in three events, as well as several booths exhibiting USC Annenberg’s digital prowess over the course of the weekend.
On Thursday, Sept. 24, Hernandez will be joined by other innovative journalism professors for a panel called, “Building Digital Culture in J Schools,” at 11 a.m. in the Constellation Ballroom II. They will share how they’ve managed to keep their schools up-to-date when it comes to technology.
Hernandez will also take part in an event on Friday, Sept. 25, called “#WJCHAT + #SOCJOURN,” at 7 p.m. at SmithHouse Tap & Grill. The event will bring together #WJCHAT, a weekly Twitter-based discussion of web journalism hosted by Hernandez; #SOCJOURN, an online discussion of social journalism; .Mic, Chartbeat and Breaking News for an evening celebration of social media and journalism.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, Hernandez will moderate the “Virtual Reality in a Modern World” panel at 11:30 a.m. in the Santa Monica Room. The panelists, all of whom are pioneers in VR journalism, will discuss their own content, as well as the future of this developing medium for storytelling.
Professor Amara Aguilar will join Hernandez at the “Innovations in the Classroom” booth — sponsored by USC Annenberg — on Thursday and Friday at noon. They’ll be giving out custom Google cardboard wearables that will allow attendees to take a VR tour of Wallis Annenberg Hall.
The USC Annenberg booth (M31) is part of ONA’s Midway, which is a “participatory space” meant to foster and showcase innovation all weekend in the California Showroom.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Aguilar and USC Annenberg alumna Jessica Oliveira will take over the booth to talk about “Designing Apps in the Newsroom.”
Professor Vince Gonzales and USC Annenberg alumna Signe Larsen will talk “Behind The Scenes of ‘The Trails of Trash’ Student Finalist of OJA and M.S. Journalism Program Info” at the booth at 1:30 p.m. both days.
Anjuli Bedi, project director at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, and professor Gabriel Kahn will take over at 2:30 p.m. on both days for a discussion of "Leveraging Audience Engagement: Using Data to Connect Across Platforms," sponsored by AIL.
At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Oliveira and Larsen will end the day at the USC Annenberg booth to talk about converged newsrooms and USC Annenberg’s M.S. in Journalism program.
On Thursday, professor Dana Chinn, who is also the director of the Media Impact Project, will be giving a presentation on how to make data journalism more understandable by considering the audience. “Meaningful Measurement: An Audience-First Approach to Data” will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Beverly Hills Room.
USC Annenberg will take up residence in the ONA Midway once more on Saturday to preview their sponsored panel on new jobs in journalism. Kahn will be there to discuss the event at 12:30 p.m.
USC Annenberg’s presence at the conference culminates Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Pacific Room, where Kahn will moderate the school’s sponsored session: “Preparing for the Next Jobs in Journalism.”
The panelists will be: Laura Davis, who is a mobile news editor at Buzzfeed, a USC Annenberg adjunct professor, and alumna; Matt Thompson, deputy digital editor at The Atlantic; and Fernando Hurtado, a USC Annenberg student and campus editor-at-large for The Huffington Post.
They’ll discuss new jobs being created as the journalism field continues to innovate, as well as the skill and mindsets required to get these positions.
The panels, booths and speakers are subject to change prior to the event so keep checking back for more up to date information about USC Annenberg at the 2015 ONA Conference.