About the Summit

Today, there are unprecedented challenges facing collegiate media. To address this, Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and The Post, its independent student-run news outlet, are bringing collegiate media innovators from across the country to Athens, OH to discuss the Future of Student Media. The event is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Panels, speeches, and sessions will feature college media innovators who have pioneered changes to enable campus media outlets to survive and thrive.

The summit will run April 8 and 9, 2016 in Athens, OH.

A highlight of the summit will be the release of a report with new findings on advertising trends and student media consumption habits for America’s college campuses. The extensive reported, paid for by Ohio University, will be provided free to all those attending.

The Summit

About the event

Too often, collegiate media operate in a vacuum without the support of experienced people who can encourage, suggest and advise change. Ohio University and The Post are bringing innovators together for the collective good of collegiate student media outlets at America's colleges and universities.

The Future of Student Media Summit is ideal for student editors, staff writers, business managers, faculty advisors and student media directors seeking innovative solutions to revenue and audience engagement challenges. The summit’s format will be collaborative, designed to help attendees push their news publications forward.

Who should attend?

A student editor looking for inspiration on how to push their student-newsroom forward.

A business manager who must implement new ideas to meet the bottom line.

An adviser who is worried his or her students are not innovating quickly enough.

A student media director who is looking for broad solutions to systemic revenue and audience engagement problems across student media publications.

Lead Sponsor

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is the lead supporter of the Future of Student Media Summit at Ohio University. The summit fits the foundation's mission of encouraging media innovation and sustainability.

The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

Cutting-edge Research

Borrell Associates, a nationally-renowned advertising research firm, is surveying hundreds of college media market advertisers to determine why they do or don't spend with student media. Dr. Hans Meyer, associate professor at Ohio University, is administering a survey to college students across the country to determine how and why they interact with campus media

Together, the findings of this report will provide a blueprint for business managers to better understand college advertising trends and for students journalists to improve engagement with their peers. The report, paid for by Ohio University, will be given free of charge to all conference attendees.

The Speakers

A full schedule is available here.

Gordon Borrell | CEO of Borrell Associates, Inc.

Gordon Borrell is the CEO of Borrell Associates, Inc., the local media industry’s leading analyst and consulting group. Frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Ad Age, Forbes and other publications, Gordon has also appeared on CNN and other TV and radio programs discussing trends and forecasts for local media.

In addition to his long history of student media support, Gordon is chairman of the Local Media Association and past president of the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation.

Borrell Associates works with more than 700 media properties, Internet "pure-play" companies, investment analysts and industry vendors, helping them understand tomorrow’s media today.

Joshua Hatch | President of the Online News Association

Joshua Hatch is actively involved in exploring the potential of online journalism to cover the news and inform the public in new and innovative ways. In his career he’s produced numerous packages that take advantage of the online platform, from election-based games to data-driven interactives, to narrative storytelling. At The Chronicle of Higher Education, he leads a team of data reporters, designers and developers to create data-driven interactive stories and multimedia narratives.

Since 2005, he has been providing multimedia training to journalism students and professionals around the world, including ONA mini camps, teaching courses at the University of Maryland and American University, and international training sessions in Thailand, Indonesia, The Czech Republic and Russia.

He’s worked at the Sunlight Foundation, at USA Today as Interactives Director, was the senior producer for a news animation service with Knight Ridder/Tribune, an editor at Space News, and a general assignment reporter for the Fairfax Journal.

Kim Fox | Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at The American University in Cairo

Kim Fox is currently an associate professor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (JRMC) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) in Cairo, Egypt. She primarily teaches Audio Production and Multimedia Writing. She received both her B.S. and her M.A. degrees from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Kim spent decades working in the U.S. radio industry in various positions at radio stations including WOUB AM/FM/TV in Athens, Ohio; WIZF in Cincinnati, Ohio; WBLK in Buffalo, New York; WAKR in Akron, Ohio; WMCO in New Concord, Ohio WOSU AM/FM/TV in Columbus, Ohio and more.

Steve Buttry | Director of Student Media at the Manship School of Communications at Louisiana State University

Steve Buttry has held a wide array of positions in journalism, including Digital Transformation Editor for Digital First Media. Steve was named Editor of the Year by Editor & Publisher in 2010 for his leadership at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Steve has spent 40 years in the news business. Steve has trained journalists and media executives around the world, with a focus on innovation and transformation. He also frequently blogs, often critiquing the media for his substantial social and online following.

Tom Sly | Senior Director of Digital Revenue at The E.W. Scripps Company

Tom Sly brings a diverse background in media sales and management to The E.W. Scripps Company as Vice President, Digital Revenue where he is responsible for working together with the TV and radio properties and Scripps new business digital investments to develop the sales strategy and grow digital revenue.

Prior to joining Scripps, Tom lead revenue and partner development at a number of startups including Vehix.com and 10LocalCoupons.com. An avid skier and outdoorsman, Tom is a longtime resident of Park City, Utah where he lives with his wife and two daughters and today he also resides in Cincinnati, working out of Scripps corporate office.

Michelle Ferrier | Associate Dean at Scripps College of Communication

Dr. Michelle Ferrier is the associate dean for innovation, research/creative activity and graduate studies in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. She is the founder and publisher of LocallyGrownNews.com, a hyperlocal, niche online community for local food advocates and a New Media Women Entrepreneur grant recipient. Ferrier is vice president of Journalism That Matters and is active in research around the changing media ecosystem and curriculum change. Her current research agenda includes media entrepreneurship and the media deserts project that examines places where fresh news and information are lacking. She is the chief instigator behind “Create or Die”, the media entrepreneurship startup events hosted by Journalism That Matters in June 2010 and June 2011.

Alex Darus | Staff Writer at The Post

Alex Darus is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. She is originally from Avon, Ohio. She currently reports for The Post, the independent newspaper at Ohio University, and is the Social Media Manager for Scripps Hispanic Network, an organization at Ohio University dedicated to spreading the importance of Hispanic and Latino figures in the media.

Will Drabold | Director of Editorial Initiatives at The Post

During his final semester in the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University, Will oversees editorial projects at The Post, where he has worked as a reporter and editor since high school. He has worked on projects that support the professional development of his peers, hold Ohio officials accountable and spur innovation in college media. His reporting at The Seattle Times in 2015 won the Hearst Journalism Award for Enterprise Reporting. He has completed five internships and will work for TIME in Washington D.C. this summer. Will is the coordinator of the national Future of Student Media Summit at Ohio University. He is from Athens, OH and enjoys travel, cigars and political shenanigans.

Ryan Frank | Former Publisher of The Emerald Media Group at the University of Oregon

During his three years at the helm of Oregon's student media organization, Ryan Frank drew national attention for turning a daily student newspaper into a digital-first media organization. Frank helped The Emerald increase readership and revenues. He wrote frequently about the process, helping other student media organizations learn about his group's successes and failures in real-time. Since leaving The Emerald, Frank has worked for Oregon's business development as their communications and media manager.

Alisa Warren | External Communications Assistant for Ampersand

Alisa Warren is a sophomore at the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College, where she serves as the External Communications Assistant and writer for its alumni magazine, Ampersand. With a major in journalism, she aims to focus on covering public health issues while obtaining a minor in environmental health science. She is in the midst of kickstarting an online health publication where she plans on covering a range of issues that affect the Appalachian area, including food insecurity, behavioral healthcare and drug abuse.

Wynston Wilcox | Staff Writer at The Post

Wynston Wilcox, a Cincinnati native, is a junior at Ohio University studying sports journalism. He is a staff writer at The Post and covers women’s basketball and softball for the paper. In addition to his work with The Post, he is a second-year RA in Shively Hall and will be an ARD in Tanaka/Luchs Complex next year.

Frank LoMonte | Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center

A successful lawyer and former investigative-journalist, Frank LoMonte is an expert on media law and first-amendment issues. He is a defender of student media organizations who battles to preserve the independence of student groups under siege from administration and business pressures. Based in Washington D.C., he has run the Student Press Law Center since 2008.

Alex Vikmanis | Editorial Manager of Medium's In-House Publications

Alex is heavily involved in Medium's outreach efforts, with a focus on building connections between higher education and Medium. Alex has experience across a myriad of digital and social media jobs, managing events, communications, audience engagement and websites for an array of organizations. He is also a creative writer, with an MfA from the California College of Fine Arts. He graduated in 2006 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Branson Wright | Sports Reporter at The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Accomplished media professional with nearly two decades of newspaper, radio, television and Internet reporting experience always looking to positively impact an organization’s bottom line and departmental requirements. Established time-management skills and efficient problem-solving strategies. Created, developed and executed multimedia ideas for company's daily and special projects. Effective interpersonal and interviewing talents led to industry acknowledged awards. Currently a new media reporter covering the Cleveland Browns. Coverage includes reporting, blogging, shooting and editing video.

Chris Carroll | Student Media Director at Vanderbilt University

Chris Carroll has been a cornerstone of the college media community since the 1990s. A past head of the College Media Association and College Media Advisers, Carroll coordinates the business, logistical and legal operations of all student media at Vanderbilt University. He assumed that position in 1996, pushing for innovation at Vanderbilt and elsewhere. He also runs the College Media Institute. He has worked as a reporter and photojournalist.

Emma Ockerman | Editor-in-Chief of The Post at Ohio University

A junior at Ohio University, Emma Ockerman is leading The Post's digital transformation. A daily student newspaper, The Post is undergoing a shift that many other student media organizations are dealing with. Ockerman has interned at The Columbus Dispatch and the Detroit Free-Press.

Daryl Hively | Founder and CEO of Guarantee Digital

Hively is a Media Veteran of over 30 years, with the majority of his careers spent working in Digital at the corporate & local level driving results for Merchants and Media companies. As VP Digital for Journal Communications, he conceived and launched a successful Digital Agency in 2010, one of the first of its kind within a local Media company. Hively previously held Senior Roles with companies that include the St. Petersburg Times, Knight Ridder, Advance Internet and EW Scripps before founding Guarantee Digital in late 2011.

Jon Schlitt | Sales and Marketing Advisor for The Daily Kansan

Jon Schlitt has been working as sales and marketing advisor for the University Daily Kansan since August 2007. He is working with the ad staff to transition into a digital present/future by increasing our digital sales, better promotion through social media and the development of new mobile apps. The Kansan has won best ad staff in the nation three times under Schlitt's leadership.

Toni Albertson | Professor of Journalism and adviser of Student Media at Mt. San Antonio College

Toni Albertson is a professor of journalism and adviser student media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. Since coming to Mt. SAC in 2006, she turned around a troubled journalism program with low enrollment and turned it into an award-winning program that was recently called by Nieman Lab “the most daring, innovative college media outlets in the United States.” Under her guidance, the student media stopped all print publications, and in a unique partnership, moved its newsroom over to Medium. The student media also launched a hyper-local reporting news site on Twitter, with student staff covering 15 local cities. Toni is president of CCJA, division programming chair for AEJMC, and a contributor to numerous publications.

Andy Rossback | Former Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Emerald at The University of Oregon

Andy Rossback served as editor in chief of the Daily Emerald in 2012, as the newspaper reinvented itself. The paper’s efforts to innovate were described as “immense, frequent, and fearless” and covered by Bloomberg Businessweek, Nieman Lab and The New York Times. In 2013, he founded the Emerald’s creative agency, The Venture Dept., to help reduce reliance on print. After graduation, he interned at The New York Times and is now a designer at The Marshall Project.

Matthew Freedman | Managing Account Director at Ologie

Matthew Freedman is Managing Account Director at Ologie—a Columbus-based marketing and branding firm that focuses on the education industry. While Matt maintains a national portfolio of higher education clients, one of his concentrations is leading Ologie’s relationship with Ohio University. He has completed brand consulting projects for many units on campus including the Scripps College of Communication, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

Matt is a Chicago-area native and graduated from Ohio University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and in 1998 with a Master’s of Sports Administration and Facility Management.

Danielle Ferguson | Editor-in-Chief of the Iowa State Daily

Danielle has worked at the Daily for four years, rising from a reporter covering state higher education to the newsroom's leader this year. In the last few years, the Daily has restructured itself to better meet challenging times. It has looked for new ways to generate revenue, including new digital and print advertising pushes. The Daily also secured a fee from the university, paid by students, to support student journalism. Danielle continues to oversee and develop these changes in conjunction with the newsroom's business staff. She is a senior studying journalism and is originally from South Dakota.

Jim Rodenbush | Student Media Adviser at The Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation, Colorado State University

Jim Rodenbush joined The Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation this past September after spending five years in an adviser’s role at The Daily Collegian at Penn State University and The Journal at Webster University in St. Louis. Jim has spent 16 years in the journalism business in a variety of roles. He is a former staff member at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and contributor to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Associated Press.

Jim is a St. Louis-area native and graduated from Syracuse University in 1999 with a master’s degree in journalism.

Roman Heindorff | CEO at Camayak.com

Since co-founding Camayak in 2011, Roman Heindorff has worked with hundreds of newsrooms to help them produce more content for larger audiences. He's interested in building sustainable media models and has helped launch other tools like BeatStrap - a free liveblog tool for Twitter users.

Gerald Johnson | Director of Student Media at UT Austin

Gerald began his career in newspaper at the Houston Chronicle in 1998. Starting at an entry-level position, he quickly grew his career path to include Digital Specialist, Sales Manager, Director and Executive Director. Responsibilities included managing multiple sales teams with a focus on new business development, leading company-wide initiatives and later, niche publications. Niche highlights included a new, annual philanthropy publication and a re-imagined who’s who of business in the Houston market. These two publications added $1M in new, annual revenues.

After 12 years of senior management experience, Gerald accepted a new challenge at the University of Texas – Austin with Texas Student Media. TSM includes five primary media outlets that include a daily newspaper, television station, radio station, yearbook and humor publication. Prior to his arrival, TSM was losing $200,000+ annually. During his first, full fiscal year, the organization generated $200,000+ in profit. Gerald concedes that the challenges all media face are far from over, but a little creativity and a properly focused team can extend print life, allowing for a longer ramp to a fully-digital enterprise.

Chrissy Beck | General Manager of The Duke Chronicle

Chrissy Beck has been with The Chronicle since 2008 and in the General Manager role for four years. She also worked eleven years at The Daily Tar Heel as Advertising Director. She has successfully reorganized The Chronicle (with board and staff support) to achieve net operating profit the last four years.

Though print revenue continues to decline at a slow pace, print circulation is still high - 10,000 per day for a campus of 7,000 undergraduates. Digital revenue as grown by 200% in the last four years as they have added products and grown site traffic. In addition, The Chronicle has launched a successful annual fund and major gifts’ campaign.

Victoria Checa | Advertising Manager at The Diamondback

Victoria became a print ad sales rep as a junior communications major at UMD, then got promoted to online sales and then mid-semester before she graduated, got offered her position as a full time advertising sales manager. She's been in the position for a year and a half now. She's changed the structure of our sales team, added new sales positions, created new products and is beginning to develop a marketing team. She is constantly looking for new revenue generating opportunities to reach her year goal when the standard traditional products and efforts fall short.

Darren Johnson | Founder of Community College Campus News

Darren Johnson has a B.A. in English and Writing and an M.F.A. in Writing and Literature from Southampton College and has taught Writing and Journalism extensively at the four-year and community college levels. He has also taught layout design and HTML and is a "rebranding" specialist. Along with leading several large institutional web redesigns, he also has managed major mass media buys for colleges, from storyboard to air, with hundreds of thousands of spots placed on major cable TV, regional radio and network TV, the Internet, billboards, print publications and more. He has a decade of newsroom experience and was a New York Press Association “Writer of the Year” for The Sag Harbor Express, where he authored approximately 1000 articles. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Hampton Shorts, The American and a host of other publications. As a Faculty Adviser, he ran the student newspaper at Suffolk County Community College, leading the paper to the most Newsday Awards for any college on Long Island one year, and was given a Leadership Award, as voted upon by students, two years in a row at Stony Brook Southampton, where he led student media efforts. His independent Community College Campus News student paper, started in January 2010, hits 37 colleges in the Northeast.

Paul Wright | Director of the Office of Student Media at The University of Alabama

Paul Wright is currently the director of the Office of Student Media at The University of Alabama. Since 2004, he has led this department that includes a twice-weekly newspaper, a non-commercial FM radio station, an undergraduate literary art journal, a graduate literary journal, a Southern history journal and a college women’s lifestyle magazine in addition to various digital publications and services. Wright is a nearly 40-year veteran of student media and higher education and has professional experience in journalism, radio, public relations and publication design.

Anthony Peyronel | Chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations at Edinboro University

Before joining the Edinboro faculty in 1992, Anthony Peyronel worked as a newspaper reporter and as a public relations writer and director at colleges and universities. He is a founding board member and past president of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has participated in the Scripps Howard Leadership Academy, hosted by the ManshipSchool of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.

Olivia Dimmer | Editor-in-Chief at The State News at Michigan State University

Olivia Dimmer is currently the Editor-in-Chief at The State News at Michigan State University, and helped to oversee the newsroom's change from broadsheet to tabloid, and from a daily paper to a twice-weekly publication while focusing more on online content. Olivia has previously interned with MLive.com, freelanced with the Associated Press, and is headed to intern at South Florida's Sun Sentinel this summer.

Spiro Dokolas | Regional Manager at TownNews.com

Spiro Dokolas is currently the regional manager for the college program at TownNews.com. Since 2009 he has helped hundreds of college media publications with their internet presence and helped increase revenue. In his spare time he enjoys reading, doing mathematics, and programming.

Luke Spencer | Audio Editor at The O’Colly at Oklahoma State University

Currently the returning Audio Editor, Luke Spencer has served as Editor-in-Chief and made other multimedia contributions to Oklahoma State’s entirely student-run newspaper and digital publication. He is a junior, majoring in Multimedia Journalism with an emphasis on production, and in the fall of 2015 founded The O’Colly’s first official podcast, The O’Cast. Posting multiple shows covering a variety of subjects, The O’Cast seeks to engage and entertain audiences through the exploration of audio features and storytelling.

David Simpson | Director of Student Media at Georgia Southern University

At the age of 18, David Simpson walked into the newsroom of The Crimson White student newspaper at the University of Alabama and said, “What do I do to work here?” He walked out with an assignment and a career. After graduation, he spent 31 years in daily journalism, including eight as assistant bureau chief for The Associated Press in Atlanta. He had various other reporting and editing roles for the AP and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and had a fun six months working part-time at CNN Digital after being laid off from his first college media job.

As director of student media at Georgia Southern University since January 2014, he has emphasized audience engagement for print and digital. That means street teams to hand out newspapers, new story forms for print, and try everything on digital platforms. Press runs and digital metrics are up, but he worries about the future as much as anybody else.

Andrew Alexander | Visiting Professional at Ohio University

Former Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander is an award-winning journalist and news industry leader who has been a reporter, editor and Washington bureau chief during a career that spans four decades. Currently he is a Visiting Professional with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, his alma mater, where he is playing a leading role in fostering media innovation and entrepreneurship.

Alexander, who has written and spoken extensively about the public’s right to know, helped launched the national Sunshine Week initiative a decade ago. He was inducted into the First Amendment Center’s National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. He is president of the American Society of News Editors Foundation and, as a Senior Advisor to the Committee to Protect Journalists, chairs its development committee.

Bob Benz | Visiting Professional at Ohio University

Bob Benz is a visiting professional at Ohio University and a partner at LedgeSolutions, a digital consulatancy that helps media companies with interactive strategies.

Previously, he was president of content at Hanley Wood, a B2B media company focusing on construction and design industries, and VP/interactive for the E.W. Scripps Co.'s newspapers. He has been a partner in Maroon Ventures, served as chief digital officer at Clarity Media Group and was the COO/co-founder of Radiant Markets.

Benz earned a BA in journalism/English from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and holds a master's in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has taught college-level courses at numerous universities and has held board seats with the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation, Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism Advisory Board, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Journalism Advisory Board, the Scripps Howard Foundation and PowerOne Media.

Hans K. Meyer | Associate Professor at Ohio University

After nearly a decade leading community newsrooms in Utah, Nevada, and California, Hans returned to school in 2004 and received his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. While in graduate school, he was part of the team that founded MyMissourian.com, one of the country’s first hyperlocal, citizen journalism websites. In 2009, he joined the faculty of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where he has continued to explore the intersection of community and the Internet. His research on how journalists can engage their audiences and fulfill the mission of civic journalism has been published in several books and academic journals. He also serves as the chair of the publishing board of directors that oversees Ohio University’s independent student newspaper, The Post.

Matthew Cameron | Former Editor-in-chief/CEO of The Cavalier Daily

Matthew Cameron served as the editor-in-chief/CEO of The Cavalier Daily, an independent nonprofit that publishes the only daily student newspaper at the University of Virginia. He oversaw The Cavalier Daily's award-winning coverage of the University's leadership crisis during June 2012, and he also led the newspaper's transformation into a digital-first enterprise by achieving 3x growth in Facebook Likes, 6x growth in Twitter followers, and 9x growth in website referrals from Twitter. In addition, he authored an undergraduate thesis examining the organizational structures and business models of student newspapers throughout the United States.

Matthew is now the president of the Cavalier Daily Alumni Association, where he recently led a fundraising campaign that raised $75K to help The Cavalier Daily pay for office space. Professionally, he works as a Product Marketing Manager for Radius Intelligence, a provider of predictive analytics software for B2B marketers.

Travis Ricks | Director of Operations at SNworks and The State News

Travis Ricks has worked on the professional staff of The State News at Michigan State University for the last 4 years. While at TSN, he has overseen the creation of SNworks, a digital agency that powers websites for college media groups around the country and that employs both professionals and students. He spends his days teaching students about web development, graphic design, project management, and working with SNworks clients. Prior to working at TSN he was a designer at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Miles Media, a travel marketing company in Florida.

Ben Postlethwait | Creator of the OUtlet at WOUB Public Media

Ben is a senior at the Scripps School of Journalism specializing in digital audio. Over the past four years he's contributed to WOUB Public Media, an NPR member station, as a radio reporter, on-air host, and student podcast program coordinator. His background includes a metro newscast reporting internship with WBUR Boston Public Radio, as well as a multimedia reporting fellowship at the Ohio Statehouse News Bureau. His research projects include the role of podcasting and longform digital audio projects in local communities and the business models that are shaping them.


Please try to arrive in Athens by 2 p.m. on Friday, April 8th to be prepared for the summit to begin that afternoon. Please plan to be there through the evening of Saturday, April 9th. A full schedule will be posted soon.

Contact Us

Registration will open soon. Please check this page or sign-up for updates to be notified when registration opens.

The summit is still seeking input on session topics and speakers. Email all suggestions, comments and inquiries about the summit to futureofstudentmedia@gmail.com.

If you are interested in sponsoring part of the summit or being featured in the event’s tradeshow, please contact Robin Stock, the Scripps College director of development, at stockr@ohio.edu.

Summit Coordinator

Will Drabold
Mobile: 740-707-8864
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