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5 Journalism Panels at SXSW Interactive 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012You may remember our post from back in August which featured fifteen journalism-related panels which were up for voting for inclusion into the 2012 SXSW schedule. Earlier this week, SXSW announced their 2012 schedule which includes over 5,000 events in the conference’s film, interactive and music tracks. Some events are still TBA, but the schedule will be updated the closer it moves to the conference’s opening date of March 9, 2012.

Here are just a few of the confirmed panels which should be of interest to journalists. This is a random sample of the entire schedule; you can search the full list of panels on the 2012 SXSW Schedule page.

Big Ol’ Babies: Why Baby Boomers = Public Media FAIL

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Location: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol (Creekside I & II)

Description: Public Media, or at least the public media funding model, has been cited as the future of the journalism industry. As Public Media continues to face funding challenges, there is an ongoing face-off between digital natives working towards innovation and baby boomers working to stay buoyant during uncertain times. The two groups seem to constantly disagree about what public media should be doing at this moment in time. Are the decisions made by the older generation too safe? Conversely, where are baby boomers’ decisions risky but misguided? Legacy staff need to regard their younger colleagues as valuable resources necessary for the survival and success of public media moving forward. What themes of conflict are emerging between the two generations across organizations? This panel identifies the top 10 key challenges contributing to the stagnancy of public media and explores what actions we would take to ensure public media’s future if we were in charge.

Presenters: Adam Schweigert, Mindset Digital; Dee Kapila, KUT Radio 90.5 FM; Jonathan Coffman, PBS; Vivian Schiller, NBC News


How Comics Journalism Is Saving Your Media

Date: Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol (Creekside I & II)

Description: While traditional journalism struggles to find its footing, comics journalism is inherently stylish, uniquely suited to sharing via social media, and popular as hell. During this panel, we’ll share findings gleaned from editors, journalists and artists who have stretched the limits of comics to tell complicated stories in a variety of formats, from traditional paneled storytelling to interactive web pieces. We’ll also discuss how this creative nonfiction can impact public policy and reach a broader audience.

Presenters: Erin Polgreen, Media Ideation Fund; Matt Bors, Cartoon Movement; Ronald Wimberly; Sarah Jaffe,; Susie Cagle, Graphic Journos


It’s Not News, It’s Business

Date: Monday, March 12, 2012

Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol (Capitol ABCD)

Description: Journalism’s future hinges on one thing, and it’s not content, readers or devices. It’s money. Producing stories, no matter what the form, takes money, and now journalists and media entrepreneurs alike must figure out how to make a product that serves the public and meets the bottom line. Our collection of editors, designers and entrepreneurs will talk about getting past any misgivings about the business side of journalism, and thinking creatively about products, events and partnerships off news.

Presenters: Ann Friedman, GOOD Magazine; Justin Ferrell, The Washington Post; Justin Ellis, Nieman Journalism Lab; Tom Hulme, IDEO


Open Web, Open News: Reporters & Developers Remix

Date: Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol (Capitol EFGH)

Description: We’re experiencing the birth of a new era: Legacy news organizations are beginning the process of moving beyond their print and broadcast past, while new, all-web reporting outfits begin to chart a path into a new future. In the process, exciting new discussions of how the culture of the open web intersects with the culture of the newsroom are growing ever more frequent. All of this has kicked off a wave of innovation throughout the journalism space that has seen leaps forward in real-time reporting, data visualization, back-end technology, and much more. But it’s nothing compared to the innovations to come.

Recognizing the many opportunities to facilitate community and empower webmakers to build real tools, the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership was formed in 2011. It has kicked off a year of design challenges that culminated in placing technology fellows in some of the world’s best newsrooms, charged with creating code for new kinds of news.

As the partnership enters its second year, this conversation will address the broad implications of this new kind of collaboration: How do we work together to innovate in the news space? How do we bring the best practices of both disciplines to bear on the other? How do we broaden the scope, spread the code, and create real impact?

Presenters: Dan Sinker, Mozilla Foundation; Emily Bell, Columbia University


Storytelling Beyond Words: New Forms of Journalism

Date: Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Location: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol (Capitol ABCD)

Description: We are in the midst of a digital revolution, and yet journalistic storytelling remains trapped in the Stone Age. We have all sorts of digital tools at our disposal — video, social media, interactive graphics, etc. — and still our stories are boring. Our panel will help you think in new ways about storytelling forms. Instead of sending users to a separate link for a video, why not embed video into the story at strategic points? Instead of writing long articles analyzing the accuracy of a politician’s statements, why not invent a meter that allows the audience to quickly see that for themselves? We’ll offer examples of how journalists harness digital tools to reinvent storytelling in ways that delight audiences, elucidate complex issues, improve communities and strengthen democracy. This panel is for geeks who care about storytelling; it’s for storytellers who care about digital tools; and it’s for anyone who cares about the future of journalism.

Presenters: Aron Pilhofer, The New York Times; Bill Adair, St. Petersburg Times; Jim Brady, The Journal Register Company; Stephen Buckley, The Poynter Institute

The 26th edition of SXSW will take place in Austin, TX from March 9-18, 2012. The final deadline for press credentials is Wednesday, February 8, 2012. For more information on scheduling, lodging, and registration prices, visit

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