Knight Center
Knight Center


Knight Center launches program for ISOJ 2016, the global conference on online journalism

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has released the program for the 17th International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ), an annual conference that attracts media executives, journalists and scholars from around the world.

Simultaneous translation to Spanish will be provided thanks to Univision. Registration is now closed, but live streaming of the event in English and Spanish will be available at

Keynote speakers include Kinsey Wilson, editor for innovation and strategy and executive vice president for product and technology at The New York Times; Yoani Sánchez, founder and director for the Cuban digital news site 14ymedio; and Kara Swisher, co-founder and executive editor of the technology news site Re/code.

The conference will feature a special keynote panel with CEOs from five of the most successful and important nonprofit journalism organizations in the United States. They will discuss strategies for sustainability and the increasingly important role of nonprofit journalism in the U.S. media landscape. The panel will feature Joaquin Alvarado from Reveal/Center for Investigative Reporting, Peter Bale from the Center for Public Integrity, Bill Keller from The Marshall Project, Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune and Richard Tofel from ProPublica.

ISOJ also features panels on news bots, virtual reality, activism and journalism, women entrepreneurs, distributed content, advertising and ad blocking, the state of online journalism around the world and academic research on the industry. Additionally, Google News Lab will present a workshop on how journalists can use Google Tools to their advantage.

"We did it again," said professor Rosental Calmon Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center, who created ISOJ in 1999. "We have put together again a very strong program to maintain ISOJ's tradition of anticipating trends and discussing some of the most important issues of the moment in the struggle of journalism to adapt to the digital era."

Before ISOJ starts on April 15, there will be two events open to participants (registration is required for both). On Thursday, April 14, Amanda Zamora, senior engagement editor for ProPublica, and the Engaging News Project of the Moody College of Communication will lead a daylong workshop on techniques for improving engagement with readers. Also on Thursday, there will be an event hosted by the organization Hacks/Hackers, which promotes collaboration between journalists and developers. Hacks/Hackers Connect will focus on how to build successful enterprises and news media products using processes that are common in startups, accelerators and entrepreneurial journalism programs.

The 9th Iberian American Colloquium on Digital Journalism will take place on Sunday, April 19, following ISOJ. The event features a round-table discussion in Spanish about online journalism trends in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. The event is free for ISOJ attendees, but seats are limited and registration is required.

The conference is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Google, Dallas Morning News, Moody College of Communication and Univision News. It will take place from April 15 to 16, 2016 at the University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art at 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Austin, Texas.




Two options for hands-on training activities the day before ISOJ:

9:00am-5:00 p.m. News Engagement Workshop: Amanda Zamora, senior engagement editor, ProPublica, and the UT Austin's Engaging News Project will lead a day long training on engaging audiences in the storytelling process. Venue: Belo Center for New Media (300 Dean Keeton, Austin TX 78712) (Register Here)

9:30am-5:30 p.m. Hacks/Hackers Connect: A launchpad event for news-media entrepreneurs, including “startup jumpstart” sessions, "Lean Canvas” workshop with Ash Maurya author of Running Lean, one-on-one “brain dates” and more. Venue: Austin American-Statesman (305 S. Congress Ave.) More details and registration here.

5:30-7:30 p.m. ISOJ Welcome Happy Hour Reception offered by the NiemanLab at Harvard University and the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin: Venue: The Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705) Google map location More details and registration here (RSVP required)



7:30-8:30 a.m. Registration and breakfast

8:30-8:45 a.m. Opening Session

  • Rosental Calmon Alves, ISOJ founder and chair, professor at the School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin
  • Jay Bernhardt, dean, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin
  • Amy Schmitz Weiss, ISOJ research chair, associate professor at San Diego State University

8:45-9:30 a.m. Keynote speaker: Kinsey Wilson, editor for innovation and strategy & executive vice president, product and technology, The New York Times
        Chair: Lorraine Branham, dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications,
Syracuse University

9:30-11:00a.m. Distributed Content: Can journalism survive and thrive in a media ecosystem where publishers don't control their distribution channels?
        Chair and presenter: Vivian Schiller, independent advisor, formerly with Twitter, NBC, NPR and New York Times

  • Summer Anne Burton, Executive Creative Producer, BuzzFeed
  • Borja Echevarría, vice president and editor-in-chief, Univision Digital
  • David Skok, managing editor & vice president, digital, The Boston Globe
  • Robyn Tomlin, vice president and managing editor, The Dallas Morning News

11:00-11:15 a.m. Coffee Break

11:15-12:30 p.m. Can advertising still subsidize journalism? The ad blocking war and the news organizations' efforts to create new revenue streams
        Chair and presenter: Jeff Jarvis, professor and director of Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, CUNY

  • Jed Hartman, chief revenue officer, The Washington Post
  • Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next (formerly Online Publishers Association)
  • Marcelo Leite, director, product and marketing, RBS Media Group, Brazil
  • Diane Vickroy, vice president business development, Secret Media

12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch Break

12:40-1:20 p.m. Special Lunch Event at Capitol Room:
       Google Tools for Journalists Workshop - Part 1 (registration required)

  • Nicholas Whitaker, media outreach manager, Google News Lab

1:30-3:15 p.m. Special keynote panel with the leaders of five nonprofit journalism organizations
        Chair and presenter: Emily Bell, director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School

  • Joaquin Alvarado, CEO, Reveal/Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Peter Bale, CEO, Center for Public Integrity
  • Bill Keller, editor-in-chief, The Marshall Project
  • Evan Smith, editor-in-chief, CEO and co-founder, The Texas Tribune
  • Richard Tofel, president, ProPublica

3:15-3:30 p.m. Coffee Break

3:30-4:45 p.m. Journalists as activists and activists as journalists: Has the internet blurred the line between journalism and activism/advocacy?
       Chair and presenter: Pam Fine, president of ASNE and Knight Chair for News, Leadership and Community at University of Kansas

  • Emma Daly, director, communications, Human Rights Watch
  • Dan Gillmor, professor of practice, Arizona State University
  • Jake Horowitz, founder,
  • Joel Simon, executive director, Committee to Protect Journalists

4:45-6:00 p.m. Research Panel
       Chair and discussant: Amy Schmitz Weiss, associate professor, San Diego State University - ISOJ research chair

  • James Breiner, University of Navarra (Spain): The Economics of Accountability Journalism: What Price Is Right?
  • Susan McGregor, Columbia University: "Security by Obscurity": Journalists' Mental Models of Information Security
  • Leonard Witt, Farooq Kperogi, Claire Bohrer, and Solomon Negash, Kennesaw University and Gwenette Writer Sinclair, CEO/Owner, 1Virtual World Development: Journalism: How One University Used Virtual Worlds to Tell True Stories
  • Jeremy Littau, Lehigh University and Mi Rosie Jahng, Hope College: Interactivity, social presence, and journalistic use of Twitter

6:15-7:45 p.m. ISOJ Reception Venue: Blanton Museum Rapoport Atrium (200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78701) Register here



8:00-9:00 a.m. Registration and breakfast

Special breakfast sessions:

8:00-8:50 a.m. Research breakfast: Trends in online journalism research
        Chair: Pablo Boczkowski, professor and director of the Master of Science in Leadership for Creative Enterprises, Northwestern University

  • VR Uses in Research and Teaching: Avery Holton, assistant professor, University of Utah
  • Millennials and Mobile: Paula Poindexter, associate professor, School of Journalism, UT Austin
  • Engaging the News: Josh Scacco, assistant professor, Purdue University
  • Innovation in Global Journalism Education: Elanie Steyn, associate professor, University of Oklahoma

8:00-8:50 a.m. Special breakfast session: Women leaders and entrepreneurs in online journalism
        Chair: Nadine Hoffman, deputy director and director of programs, International Women's Media Foundation

  • Elmira Bayrasli, co-founder, Foreign Policy Interrupted
  • Mandy Jenkins, director of news, Storyful
  • Juanita León, director, La Silla Vacía, Colombia
  • Croi McNamara, head of video, Upworthy

9:00-9:45 a.m. Keynote speaker: Yoani Sanchez, founder and director, 14ymedio, Cuba
        Chair: Janine Warner, founder and executive director, SembraMedia

9:45-11:15 a.m. Panel: Messaging as a platform and bots as a news service
        Chair and presenter: Trei Brundrett, chief product officer, Vox Media

  • Ben Brown, co-founder and CEO, XOXCO
  • Alastair Coote, mobile developer, Guardian U.S. mobile innovation lab
  • Rebecca Harris, founder and CEO, Purple
  • Zach Seward, vice president of product and executive editor, Quartz
  • Alex Swan, developer,

11:15-11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:30-12:45 p.m. Research Panel:
        Chair and discussant: Kathleen McElroy, assistant professor, Oklahoma State University

  • Lu Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Did you get the buzz? Are digital native media becoming mainstream?
  • Zhaoxi Liu, Trinity University: Toward Omnipresent Journalism: A Case Study of the Real-Time Coverage of the San Antonio Spurs 2014 NBA Championship Game
  • Danielle Kilgo and Vinicio Sinta, University of Texas at Austin: 6 things you didn't know about headline writing: Sensational form in viral news of traditional and digitally native news organizations
  • Hans K. Meyer and Burton Speakman, Ohio University: Quieting the Commenters: The Spiral of Silence's Persistent Effect on Online News Forums

12:45-1:45 p.m. Lunch Break

12:55-1:35 p.m. Special Lunch Event at Capitol Room:
       Google Tools for Journalists Workshop - Part 2(registration required)

  • Nicholas Whitaker, media outreach manager, Google News Lab

1:45-2:30 p.m.
        Keynote speaker: Kara Swisher, co-founder and executive editor, Recode
Dan Gillmor, professor of practice, Arizona State University​

2:30-4:15 p.m. Global round up: Creative solutions for online journalism challenges around the world
        Chair: Maria Teresa Ronderos, director of the Program on Independent Journalism, Open Society Foundations

  • Andrei Dynko, editor, Nasha Niva, Belarus
  • Enock Nyariki, editor, Hivisasa, Kenya
  • Kelly G. Niknejad, editor-in-chief, Tehran Bureau
  • Carlos Salamanca, business and administration manager, El Faro, El Salvador
  • Trevor Snapp, director of programs, Nuba Reports, Sudan
  • Galina Timchenko, executive editor, Meduza, Russia

4:15-4:30 p.m. Coffee Break

4:30-6:00 p.m. Virtual Reality, the new frontier of journalism storytelling
        Chair: Shazna Nessa, director of journalism program, Knight Foundation

  • Carla Borrás, series coordinating producer, FRONTLINE, PBS
  • R.B. Brenner, director, UT Austin School of Journalism
  • Tom Kent, standards editor, Associated Press
  • Dan Pacheco, professor of journalism Innovation, Syracuse University
  • Jamie Pallot, co-founder, Emblematic Group




9:00 a.m-2:00 p.m. 9th Iberian American Colloquium on Digital Journalism, a round-table discussion in Spanish, on online journalism trends in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Registration is free for ISOJ attendees, but seats are limited. Register here. The Colloquium will be at the Belo Center for New Media, Moody College of Communication.

Note: This program is subject to change.


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