More than 450 top media executives from around the globe and a team of WKU multiplatform student journalists have gathered in New York City this week for meetings on the future of news brands.
The executives from more than 40 countries are in New York for the 83rd annual World Congress of INMA, a news industry strategic trade organization.
The students are the staff of Western iMedia, an entrepreneurial editorial operation embedded in WKU’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting. They designed and are now on site producing exclusive coverage of the conference, but they have also had the spotlight turned on them.
Earl Wilkinson, INMA CEO and executive director, led the congress audience in giving the students a standing ovation Monday morning during opening ceremonies. He noted that while INMA is debating the future course of news media, WKU’s specially trained journalists are demonstrating it. This is the third year in a row that INMA has hired Western iMedia to enhance its Congress coverage.
Western iMedia’s reports — via mobile-optimized video, an advanced style of long-form narratives, social networked surveys and a virtual twitterstorm of audience interactivity — have so far achieved a peak reach of more than 1.2 million people. That came on Monday with the conference’s headline presentation from media rockstar Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. iMedia journalists also produced one of the few interviews Huffington gave after her remarks.
The WKU group has also been asked to contribute to various discussions concerning their recent work on other projects involved with data visualization, augmented reality storytelling and designing news engagement environments. Several students were interviewed by DTI Television and News & Tech magazine about their activities.
As for their congress coverage, the bulk of Western iMedia’s work is available through INMA’s congress hub at inma.org/wc. The articles there are produced using a unique method of writing long-form narrative designed to cater to multiple audiences. The students developed a workflow for collaboratively producing multiple facets of an article simultaneously and in real time, and custom-coded a unique website interface to integrate all the separate parts of a story into a single online entry accessed through a row of content triggers.
Western iMedia staff members are trained as fusion journalists who combine the standards, mission, ethics and production values of traditional editorial work with a very atypical range of expertise in making that work more visual, more tangible and more accessible to a contemporary audience. The program draws the very best students from across all of the WKU journalism school’s areas of study.
Western iMedia consists of Anna Anderson of Shelbyville; Stephanie Bronner of Louisville; Elizabeth Geiman of Fort Thomas; Cameron Koch of Hartselle, Ala.; Whitney Koontz of Louisville; Brie Logsdon of Louisville; Lauren Lorance of Jeffersonville, Ind.; Hannah Murphy of Madisonville; Bethany Randall of Owensboro; and Khristian Tate of Owenton. WKU graduate and iMedia alumna Anna Williams of Davenport, Iowa, is assisting the staff with media production. The staff is directed by iMedia coordinator and WKU Turner Multimedia Professor Kerry J. Northrup.