UNC’s Next World Media Symposium Encourages Journalism Students to be Creative

By Kristin Ruffin Posted October 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Chapel Hill –  UNC-Chapel Hill journalism students were encouraged to be creative storytellers, when they got a glance at what the future of advertising might look like at the Next World Media Symposium on Friday.

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Professor JoAnn Sciarrino says the journalism school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a long tradition of greatness.

“We need to continue to create great storytellers, which is something we’ve always done; from Charles Kuralt, to any number of individuals who have passed through the J school,” Sciarrino says.

Professors Gary Kayye, John Sweeney, and Sciarrino hosted the Next World Media Symposium on Friday, in an effort to continue that tradition.

Kayye says people heard their message.

“I just got word that our Twitter hashtag is trending all over the Triangle, so that’s a good sign that other people are paying attention,” Kayye says.

The symposium brought executives from well-established advertising and marketing companies onto campus to talk to students.

AT&T Vice President Daryl Evans was the keynote speaker at the conference. He and a few other speakers are UNC alumni who got their start at UNC. Evans says the symposium was a great start to a homecoming weekend.

“This is fun,” Evans says: “I love coming back up to Chapel Hill. I’m here for a ballgame, and I’m also on the Board of Visitors here. It’s a good place to come back to.”

The speakers came to give students advice on becoming successful advertisers in a fast-paced world that continually introduces new media outlets and platforms.

Jonathan Salem Baskin is a respected management consultant, and a regular Forbes contributor. He talked about where Journalism has been in the past, using the print newspaper as an example of what he thinks is a disappearing news medium.

“I still get a print version of the Chicago tribune… I just can’t give it up,” Baskin says, “But I will eventually die, and I don’t think I will be replaced by a subscriber.”

The speakers talked about the boom of new media. With Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, Vine, Youtube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Snapchat, Reddit, and the hundreds of thousands of online news mediums, how do advertisers and marketers choose the best outlet to reach consumers? How do they sort through all the madness?

Greg Johnson, president of the BooneOakley Agency, says the more tech-savvy we become, the more human we must be.  He says technology works best when it’s reflective of who we are as people.

As sophisticated and advanced as technology is becoming, it’s still about really simple, basic human truths. It’s about touching people’s hearts, and their heads, because that’s where decisions are made.

Evans agreed with Johnson in his presentation saying the connective tissue of all the emerging media is storytelling. He says advertising is about making something that’s engaging.

Journalism students at the event were fully engaged in the speakers’ messages. Tricia Cleppe says she hopes the journalism school uses the speakers’ ideas in the classroom.

“I thought it was very interesting to get a perspective from people who do this in their real lives, and from real brands with real money behind them,” Cleppe says.

“You can learn all of these things in the journalism school but you don’t really understand it until you see the tangible benefits of it. I think the journalism school should try to head in the same direction,” Cleppe says.

Professor Sciarrino says she plans to push her classes in that direction.

“I think we heard some consistent themes about storytelling, and content marketing, and creativity, and big data and analytics,” Sciarrino says, “Those are going to be the touchstones for me to carry through to my classes.”

Other Speakers at the event included BooneOakley CCO David Oakley, Capstrat Agency President Karen Albritton, and rAVe Publications Founder Gary Kayye.

The video featuring the entire conference will be available on the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication website by November 10.

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