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INMA World Congress 2015 New York City

The numbers speak for themselves: 10 Western iMedia fusion journalists reached a total of 3.4 million people worldwide with their innovative multiplatform coverage of the annual world congress of the International NewsMedia Association (INMA). Total exposure for the story reached 22.8 million people, according to independent metrics agencies.

The editorial project was four months in design and training, capped by 72 hours of nearly non-stop coverage and production work. During that time, the team wrote 49 serial-segmented articles published online with code enhancements; several hundred media-augmented social narratives over a range of networks; and 53 tightly crafted media packages that adapted common smartphone formats to professional editorial requirements.

See all the packages at bit.ly/whatsnextinma15.

It altogether documented the meeting of more than 480 top media executives from around the globe in New York City deciding the future of news brands.

The executives from 45 countries attended the 85th annual World Congress of INMA, a news industry strategic trade organization. They spent May 10-12 at The TimesCenter in Manhattan deliberating the state of the world’s media and evaluating the latest digital techniques in news publishing.

All the while, the staff of Western iMedia, an innovative editorial startup embedded in the WKU School of Journalism & Broadcasting, was using those very same digital techniques to report the meeting’s proceedings to a worldwide audience. This was the fifth year in a row that the International NewsMedia Association had commissioned Western iMedia to manage its editorial coverage.

It’s what we do

With business cards sporting job descriptions such as news experience designer, contextual producer, storybuilder, multiplatform media composer and editorial technologist, the iMedia team at INMA comprised students Leah Brown of Louisville, Ky.; Catherine Havel of Louisville, Ky.;Amanda Johnson of Nashville, Tenn.; Nolan Miles of Bardstown, Ky., Brian Powers of Naperville, Il.; and Anna Wilkins of Russellville, Ky. In addition, three recent WKU and Western iMedia alum are providing production support: Nicole Coomer of Bowling Green, Ky.; Matthew Langston of Paducah, Ky.; Brie Logsdon of Philadelphia, Pa. They were directed by Kerry J. Northrup, an international media executive who serves as WKU’s Turner Multimedia Professor and Professional-in-Residence in the School of Journalism & Broadcasting.

“The fusion journalists of Western iMedia combine the ethics, mission and production values of quality editorial work with an atypical range of expertise in making that work more tangible, more accessible, more meaningful to contemporary media participants,” Northrup explained. “These are adaptive storytellers primed to work in and even create the new mainstream media. They don’t just tell stories but also design and produce the environments in which people engage with those stories across multiple technologies and platforms.”

Western iMedia typically creates news story through a combination of media formats such as augmented reality, 360-degree live-action video, massive data visualization panels, serial-segmented episodic narratives and interactive mobile apps.

“Each of our projects is intended to not only accomplish significant journalism but also to prototype new storytelling technologies and techniques for the world’s news industry,” Northrup noted.

For the INMA Congress, Western iMedia created an integrated package of mobile-optimized Flipagram video and audio clips, multi-component narratives accessed online through custom-coded content triggers, and a virtual “tweetstorm” of socially networked audience interaction.

The bulk of the work was published through INMA’s World Congress hub at inma.org/wc and through social networks using hashtag #inmawc15.

“For us, this entire event – all these thought leaders coming together at one place at one time talking about the future of media, the ideas and consensus that come out of it, the deals and projects that are launched, the emotion that surrounds it of opportunity looming or lost, and the influence all this has on changing the way things may work tomorrow – we approach this as all one big, complex story with very many pieces, the technical and the human,” said Northrup. “It can’t be told adequately through classic media, especially not in a way that connects with the essential Millennial media participants who are shunning classic media. It requires a non-traditional massive-media approach. That’s what we do.”

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© 2016 Western iMedia/The Newsplexer Projects