2021 Speakers

RICK ALLOWAY
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Podcasting”

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Rick Alloway teaches courses in audio production, media writing and content creation, podcasting and vocal performance for electronic media. In addition, he is the general manager for the university’s audio properties, 90.3 KRNU and the KRNU2 webstream.

A full-time faculty member since 1986, Alloway began his teaching career at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as an adjunct professor in broadcasting courses in the late 1970s. He taught the college’s sports broadcasting course for 30 years and was a member of the steering committee that developed the college’s major in Sports Media and Communication.

Alloway serves as the host for a monthly statewide radio call-in show with Nebraska’s governor on behalf of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association. Since 1995, he has produced and hosted Vocal Chords – an a cappella and vocal music program and webcast – on 90.3 KRNU, and he created and hosts Campus Voices, the station’s weekly half-hour public affairs series.


DAVID COHN
Advance Digital, Cofounder, Chief Strategy Officer, Subtext

“Texting With the Audience”

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Over the last fifteen years David Cohn has been at the forefront of innovation in journalism, working on some of the first experiments in buzzwordy facets of journalism including “structured content,” “networked journalism,” “distributed reporting” and more.Today he is a senior director at Advance Digital’s Alpha Group, which does in-house incubation. Essentially, he gets to be part of the mad-scientist team. The most recent creation is Subtext (JoinSubtext.com) where he is a cofounder and chief strategy officer.


TONY ELKINS
Director of Innovation at Gannett; Co-creator, Bytecast

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Tony is the co-creator of Bytecast and has served as the project manager. He leads the Austin innovation team for Gannett, focusing on using design thinking to help build better products, storytelling tools and workflows for the USA TODAY Network. Tony previously served as a designer, art director, reporter and managing editor before making the switch to building support tools.

Lately he’s been focused on ways to talk about smart speakers during meetings without Alexa, Siri and Google talking back.


JEREMY GILBERT
Medill News Lab, Northwestern University

“If the Machines Come for You, Will It Help? Will AI and Automation Aid News Organizations Or Eliminate Journalists?”

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Jeremy Gilbert is Medill’s Knight Professor in Digital Media Strategy. Both his work and teaching focus on the content and revenue strategies of existing and emerging media companies. He oversees the Knight Lab and explores the intersection of technology and media, examining how new tools and techniques will affect the creation, consumption and distribution of media.Prior to assuming the Knight Chair, Gilbert was The Washington Post’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and developing a digital strategy for National Geographic.


MITRA KALITA
URL Media-Co-founder

“Community News”

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Mitra Kalita is a veteran journalist, media executive, prolific commentator and author of two books. Once described as “wonderfully blunt” by CNN anchor Brian Stelter, she is a change agent, loves writing headlines and framing stories, and blends digital strategy and audience-centric approaches while advocating for diversity and better management of our newsrooms.

Recently, Mitra launched Epicenter-NYC, a newsletter to help New Yorkers get through the pandemic. She has also recently co-founded a new media company called URL

Media, a network of Black and Brown owned media organizations that share content, distribution and revenues to increase their long-term sustainability. She’s on the board of the Philadelphia Inquirer and writes a weekly column for Fortune.


DAMON KIESOW
University of Missouri

“Quick and Easy Research to Learn About Your Audience”

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Damon Kiesow is the Knight Chair in Digital Editing and Producing at the Missouri School of Journalism. He is a digital media pioneer who specializes in aligning storytelling, innovation and business strategies. He has focused his career on energizing newsroom practices and business strategies with emerging technologies. He most recently served as director of Product for McClatchy in Raleigh, North Carolina, working with a chain of local media companies from California to Pennsylvania.

While there, he reorganized the Product group to better align business goals with reader needs and created the company’s first Product Design and User Experience Research team. Before joining McClatchy, Kiesow was a senior product manager at The Boston Globe helping guide mobile strategy and developing new mobile apps and mobile websites for Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com. He served as the managing editor/online at The Telegraph in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he helped the newsroom pursue a digital-first local news strategy – launching the newspaper’s first mobile app and video journalism efforts. Kiesow worked at AOL in Dulles, Virginia, eventually serving as principal photo editor for AOL News and Sports. His early career included stints at several newspapers in the Northeast.


JULIA MUNSLOW
Special Projects Editor at Yahoo! News

“Journalism on TikTok”

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Julia Munslow is a special projects editor at Yahoo News, a Verizon Media company. She works on a variety of projects, including Gen Z content strategy, newsletters and audience development. She also launched the Yahoo News TikTok, which grew to 1 million followers in under one year. Julia’s written work is around politics and emerging trends. Previously, she worked on the news programming team for Yahoo News where she focused on breaking news and politics and helped to develop ‘The 360’ series. She completed a Fulbright grant in Malaysia, where she taught English and journalism. Julia has a B.A. in English and creative writing from Emory University.


COLEEN O’LEAR
Head of Mobile Strategy, Washington Post

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Coleen O’Lear is Head of Mobile Strategy at The Washington Post, where she focuses on editorial and product development aimed at growing The Post’s digital audience and cultivating stronger reader habits. In 10 years at The Post, Coleen has shepherded complex projects and initiatives, including the Select app, By The Way, The Lily, The Post’s Snapchat channel and partnerships with Apple News and Facebook News. She’s also been an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Prior to joining The Post in 2011, Coleen worked at The Island Packet, The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com.


DAN PACHECO
Syracuse University

“Immersive XR for Mobile Storytelling”

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Dan Pacheco holds the Peter A. Horvitz Chair of Journalism Innovation at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for journalism. In 2014 he started and co-produced The Des Moines Register’s Harvest of Change VR project for the Oculus Rift, the world’s first large-scale use of virtual reality by a commercial news organization. Harvest of Change earned an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2015 for its innovative use of 360-degree video for virtual reality. His most recent project is Visualizing 81, a Journalism 360 funded project that uses 360, photogrammetry and 3D architectural renderings to tell the story of an aging interstate overpass that may be replaced with a community grid designed to heal racial and economic divisions in Syracuse.

Previously, Pacheco spent 20 years in the trenches of digital publishing everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to startups. He started his career as an online producer for Washingtonpost.com, where he produced Interact, one of the first online news communities. Subsequently, as a principal product manager at America Online, he oversaw some of the internet’s first truly global community products. In 2005, after pioneering the first implementation of a social networking platform at a U.S. newspaper, he received an NAA “20 Under 40” award. And in 2007, he received a Knight News Challenge grant to build a democratized publishing service that evolved into an eBook platform.

Pacheco is currently working on a book titled “Experimenting With Emerging Media Platforms: Field Testing the Future” that will be published by Routledge in 2022-2023.


RYAN RESTIVO
Newsday

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Ryan Restivo is a Project Manager for Mobile Apps at Newsday Media Group, where he led a project for a redesigned Newsday, which launched in October of 2019. He also collaborated with marketing to redesign store presence with new images and video on Apple and Google Play stores. Before that he was Editorial Development Coordinator at Newsday, leading projects such as the launch of free/metered tiers of users into the Newsday iOS/Android app. He is also a Contributing Editor for the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the college basketball industry’s most in-depth preview.


ALLISSA RICHARDSON
University of Southern California


“Mobile Witnessing Turns 30: What We’ve Learned Since Rodney King”

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Dr. Allissa V. Richardson is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School. She researches how African Americans use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism — especially in times of crisis. Additionally, Dr. Richardson investigates the historic contributions of the black press, examining specifically the intersections of advocacy journalism, black social movements and Critical Race Theory. Dr. Richardson is the author of the forthcoming book, Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism (Oxford University Press).

Dr. Richardson’s research is informed by her award-winning work as an instructor and journalist. She is considered a pioneer in mobile journalism, having launched the first smartphone-only college newsroom in 2010. The MOJO Lab, based on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, was the only American college to boast such a program at the time. Dr. Richardson expanded the MOJO Lab curriculum throughout the continent of Africa, creating classes for allied nonprofit organizations in Morocco and South Africa. NABJ recognized her as its 2012 Journalism Educator of the Year for her international work. Apple, Inc. inducted Dr. Richardson into its elite Distinguished Educator program for her innovative uses of its products the following year. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Harvard University Nieman Foundation Visiting Journalism Fellowship.


KACI RICHTER
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Podcasting”

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Kaci Richter is an assistant professor of practice at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications teaching communication design courses.

She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003, holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Social Media from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Master of Arts in Management from Doane University. Kaci began her professional career in radio broadcasting as on-air talent at KIBZ “106.3 The Blaze”, KSLI “104.1 Kiss-FM”, and KLMY “My 106.3” in Lincoln, Nebraska. After leaving commercial radio in 2008, Kaci began as an instructor and program chair in radio broadcasting at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs Iowa. She achieved the rank of full professor after 8 years at IWCC where she taught courses in media writing, audio production, media sales, media performance, media programming, and broadcast promotions.

She hosted the weekday “Rock 101” feature on KIWR-FM “89-7 The River” from 2016-2018 and she currently hosts “The Mixtape” on 90.3 KRNU.


RAY SOTO
Director, Emerging Technology, USA TODAY

“Innovations in Augmented Reality and the Future of Interactive Journalism at USA TODAY”

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Ray Soto is an award-winning Senior Director of Emerging Technology at the USA TODAY Network. He is responsible for leading the production of interactive projects and for developing projects that leverage virtual and augmented reality technologies. He has led the Network’s growth in experiential storytelling since its earliest ventures, including the planning and production of flagship projects like VRtually There and 321 LAUNCH. He has integrated augmented realty features within the USA TODAY app. From concept to publish, Ray leads complex collaborative pipelines that have positioned USA TODAY as an industry leader.

With nearly 20 years of experience creating interactive stories within the journalism and video game industries, Ray’s work has been recognized with over 15 awards including the Pulitzer Prize for the multimedia report “The Wall.” His work in VR/AR was recognized when Gannett was named one of Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies” in VR/AR in 2019. Ray was also named one of The Drum’s Top 100 Marketers in the World for 2019.


MATT WAITE
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Drone Journalism”

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Matt Waite is a professor of practice at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, teaching reporting and digital product development. He is also a graduate of the college, earning a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1997. Prior to joining the faculty, he was the senior news technologist for the St. Petersburg Times of Florida and the principal developer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact. In 2007, he began working as a hybrid journalist/programmer, combining reporting experience and Web development to create new platforms for journalism. The first platform he developed was PolitiFact, a website that fact checks what politicians say. The site became the first website awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. After PolitiFact, he and the New Products Development Team built journalistic products involving entertainment listings, high school sports, local crime and real estate. His projects tripled traffic to high school sports content, doubled local audience, won awards and accounted for more than 50 percent of all traffic to the St. Petersburg Times websites in less than a year.


AMY SCHMITZ WEISS
San Diego State University

“Geolocation and the Media: From Challenges to Opportunities”

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Amy Schmitz Weiss is a professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. She teaches journalism courses in basic writing and editing, multimedia, web design, data journalism, mobile journalism, sensor journalism, media entrepreneurship and spatial journalism. She is the recipient of the 2017-2018 San Diego State University Grant Program. Her project entails examining the intersection of journalism, social media and location-based services in today’s digital/mobile environment. She was the 2014-2015 recipient of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education by the Online News Association. Her research interests include online journalism, media sociology, news production, multimedia journalism, and international communication. She has published her research in several peer-reviewed articles, chapters and a co-edited book on a variety of topics related to journalism.