Student summit explores diverse storytelling in the digital age

Simran Sethi is associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she teaches courses on diversity, sustainability and environmental communications, and uses social media as exclusive reporting platforms.

As a journalist and journalism educator, I, like many of you, am trying to redefine my role and identify the essential skills my students need to be fully prepared for today’s dynamic newsroom. That’s why, as part of my journalism course on diversity in media, I created a summit on Telling Stories of Diversity in the Digital Age. The virtual event was co-sponsored by ONA and attracted viewers from North America, Africa and Europe.

Summit’s global reach, courtesy of UStream.


Tim Karr with students. Photo by Michael Williams.

Largely curated by students, the summit explored topics that directly impact diversity in digital storytelling, including the democratic implications of media consolidation, net neutrality and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), now making its way through Congress; the role of social media in facilitating social change; the evolving interface between traditional and citizen journalists; efforts to bridge social, geographic and generational digital divides and creative and scientific applications of digital technology to increase access to information.

You can watch the event in its entirety here, or experience it through my student Stephen Gray’s Storify below. (All students liveblogged the event under the hashtag #digdiv. Stephen was awarded a complementary student ONA membership for his great efforts.) Additional kudos to Keith Jenkins for receiving a complementary ONA membership for his stellar virtual engagement during the event.