UBC journalism students head to leading-edge digital conference

A group of UBC Journalism students are heading to Austin, Texas, to immerse themselves in the latest trends in digital journalism. They are attending the Online News Association (ONA) conference, which brings together leading journalists, media executives, product teams, entrepreneurs, students and educators from across the world.

Imagine Journalism students prepare for the ONA conference.

The nine students are attending the conference as part of the School’s new media innovation course, Imagine Journalism Studio, taught by professors Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young.

Imagine Journalism is designed to help students think critically about media entrepreneurship as they prepare to launch or run their own journalism startup.

“We’re excited to take students to the ONA conference so that they can learn more about the current state of innovation in newsrooms from across the world, and make connections with industry,” said Young.

Learning and networking

More than 2,000 people are expected at the three-day conference which explores best practices and trends around themes including audience engagement, growth and analytics; business models and entrepreneurship; and reporting tools and techniques.

One session explores how journalists can leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning in support of their work.

“Experience with those innovative storytelling tools, machine learning techniques, and video tools would be so useful,” said first-year student Yanliang Li. “I’m keen to learn the combination of machine learning and journalism.”

For second-year student Kallan Lyons, the dynamic conference is a sign that journalism is thriving.

“I’m thrilled to be joining a global network of journalists who are finding new and exciting ways to tell stories,” said Lyons.

“I hope the conference gives me the confidence and contacts I need to pursue my own projects. I’m interested in learning about gaps in digital media, and how we can include more diverse voices in our reporting.”

The Imagine Journalism students will be in Austin from September 13 to 15, 2018. Follow the conference on Twitter using #ONA18.

Funding for the Imagine Journalism course is provided by a private donor.