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

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.


UNC to Host Next World Media Symposium Friday

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.