Journalism Professors at UNC-Chapel Hill are hosting an event this week that they hope will help shake things up in journalism schools across the country.
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UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and mass Communication prides itself on being one of the top journalism schools in the country.
But professors like Gary Kayye say they’re noticing changes in the industry, changes that any innovative journalism school should acknowledge.
“We’ve seen everything from the implosion of the newspaper and magazine, to the explosion of social media,” Kayye says, “The way both news and entertainment content is watched and absorbed by most people has changed more in the last two years, than it has in the last two decades.”
Kayye and a handful of professors believe the school should dive into the future, and leave the last two decades behind.
Kayye says things don’t have to be done a certain way in the future, simply because that’s how they were done in the past.
“What would be better for journalism schools, especially ours being a top 5 school in the country, would be to help drive the future, and to make sure our students are steering the future,” Kayye says.
Professors Gary Kayye, JoAnn Sciarrino, and John Sweeney are starting a conversation. And it begins Friday at the Next World Media Symposium.
The Next World Media Symposium is a first time event at UNC. Industry experts are coming to UNC-Chapel Hill to talk about where the world of new media is headed in the future.
These experts include senior executives of companies such as AT&T, the Capstrat Agency, rAVe Publications and more.
They’re coming to speak to students, faculty, and interested peers about the directions in which advertising, marketing, and PR are going; and where they believe prosperity will be found in the years ahead.
But advice from these significant leaders doesn’t usually come cheap. Kayye says some of the speakers are worthy of up to $15,000 in speaking fees.
But they’re doing it all for free, on their own time. And Kayye says it’s because they see the new media revolution first-hand every day, and they’re eager to tell students about it.
“We’re the first journalism school to step up and say look we know things are changing very rapidly, we have to change with it,” Kayye says, “And they realized that this is an opportunity to build the curriculum from the ground up.”
JoAnn Sciarrino is the Knight Chair Professor in Digital Marketing and Advertising for the journalism school. She says it may be beneficial to dive head first into the future, even if you’re uncertain of what you’re diving into.
“The motivation for the symposium is because the definition of advertising has never been more unclear, but we think that it’s more of an opportunity than a crisis,” Sciarrino says.
“I think that as advertising is being redefined, those that are willing to take a bit of a risk and redefine it, those individuals will be most successful.”
The event has generated so much attention it had to switch to a larger venue. And Sciarrino says she’s not surprised there are only a couple dozen seats left.
“I think that young people today are so incredibly engaged in digital, and in the next frontier of media,” Sciarrino says, “So they’re very interested in what these luminaries may say, and how it can affect their future careers.”
Paige Sferrazza is one of Kayye’s students who will be attending the event. She says she is excited to hear more about what she learns each week in Kayye’s new media class.
“Every single time we have class every one of the students walks out with their mind blown because we’re all so excited about what there is to come,” Sferrazza says.
Sferrazza says she expects the same experience at the symposium.
“We’ll be listening to a lot of speakers who have real time experience in the field, and who really know what the future is going to look like,” Sferrazza says.
The Next World Media Symposium will be held Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m in Murphey Hall. Admission is free. You can get your ticket here.
If you can’t make it to the event, you can follow the conversation live by following @NextWorldUNC and #NextWorldUNC on Twitter.