USC Annenberg at the 2014 Online News Association Conference

The Online News Association held their annual conference and awards banquet at the end of September in Chicago, with numerous USC Annenberg faculty and staff members in attendance.

Professor Robert Hernandez gave a presentation on wearable technology — such as Google glass and Smart watches — and how content creation has to be altered to be engaging and effective on those devices.

“Technology is evolving, so we can’t dismiss it,” Hernandez said, adding that the adoption rate for technology is the fastest it’s ever been. Digital journalism Professor Peggy Bustamante also gave a presentation on basic programming languages for journalists.

The Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project had a booth in one of the exhibit halls, where Director Dana Chinn held “office hours” to answer questions related to media metrics. Professor Amara Aguilar attended the conference and said it gave her the opportunity to “meet other educators who are leading the way in journalism education.”

“I was also able to make new contacts in the media industry as well, and hear intriguing discussions on the current state of the media, but even more importantly, it's future,” Aguilar said.

Professor Alan Mittelstaedt said this year’s conference helped shape the vision for the new USC Annenberg Media Center.

“A big push at the conference was on ways to interact with audiences and embrace mobile technology,” Mittelstaedt — who is also the managing editor of Annenberg Digital News — said. “Once we get that right at Annenberg, and if we continue to revolutionize our curriculum, our unified newsroom and public relations operation could be turned into a thriving media company employing dozens of top graduates working alongside students and faculty.”

Annenberg alumni in attendance included Callie Schweitzer, who is now the Director of Digital Innovation at TIME; Olga Khazan, who now writes for The Atlantic; Catherine Cloutier, who now writes for The Boston Globe; Catherine Green, who is now the deputy editor of Voice of San Diego; and John Adams, who now writes for The Los Angeles Times.