General Sessions

Updated June 19

These are the general sessions for summer 2019. The page will be updated soon with the 2020 sessions.

Sunday, June 23

*** Killing It-ish: Becoming a Next-Gen Storyteller ***

After hosting Instagram’s coverage of the March for Our Lives event in Washington for over 200 million viewers worldwide, Malick Mercier helped start SMI ’18 right with an inspiring presentation focusing on how he uses his smartphone to tell America’s stories. Since then, Malick has worked with CNN, urging young people to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, with to host a roundtable recapping the mark youth made on the election, and continued working with Facebook/Instagram as a young leader changing the industry. He’s the first intern at Localish, ABC-TV’s new digital news brand for mobile millennials. At SMI ’19, Malick will share his latest experiences, including hosting his own show on IGTV, while also providing best practices for social media storytelling and curating a personal brand.

Presenter: Malick Mercier, sophomore journalism major, Ithaca College (New York)

Monday, June 24

*** Killing It-ish: Becoming a Next-Gen Storyteller (Part II) ***

Join us as we engage a panel of sensational emerging journalists and socially conscious storytellers, as they talk about how they use popular social media and digital platforms to make a name for themselves, while also helping to change the world.

Moderator: Andre Payne, news producer, WXIA-TV (Atlanta)

*** Navigating College Admissions ***

Learn what it takes when competing against thousands of applicants for the coveted spots in an upcoming freshmen class of a certain Top 10 public university – or maybe some place else.

Presenter: A freshmen admissions officer from the UF Office of Admissions

Tuesday, June 25

*** Navigating Online Spaces as a Journalist and Communicator ***

The founder of TrollBusters: Online Pest Control for Journalists will discuss how to craft your online identity without selling your soul. She will also focus on online safety and the challenges and opportunities for visual, digital and print communicators.

Presenter: Michelle Ferrier, Ph.D., dean, School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, Florida A&M University

*** Storytelling is for Everyone ***

Storytelling is having its moment – as a means of performance but also in leadership development, branding, marketing and public speaking. Being a good storyteller can make you more effective in communication, more confident in making presentations, and help you make sense of challenges. No matter how it’s used, people often say, “But I don’t have any stories!” Not true! This session will be a rapid-fire round of telling you WHY everyone has a story to share – and HOW to do it. Then, a few lucky participants will get the chance to tell their stories on stage. This mini-workshop and stage performance will be high energy, enlightening and fun. Find out why YOU are already a great storyteller. And laugh a lot in the process.

Facilitator: Taylor Williams, creator and director of Guts & Glory GNV, a live storytelling organization based in Gainesville

Wednesday, June 26

*** The Future Is Audio ***

Podcasting allows you to get to the heart of your story, connect with your audience and shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most to you. Spotify has invested nearly $500 million to buy podcast media and tech companies. And yet a podcast can start with just one person. So what makes podcasting so powerful and yet totally simple? We’ll explore why audio is so compelling, how podcasting is different from broadcast radio, key secrets to making powerful podcasts, and resources for starting your own podcast in school or at home. This session will include practical examples and simple action steps for students who want to delve further into podcasting.

Presenter: Andrea Klunder, producer and host of The Creative Impostor and Podcast Envy, and program director and mentor for Power Your Story, a podcast produced by students with diverse learning challenges at a public high school in Chicago

*** The Real Deal – College Life Q&A ***

Come learn what you can really expect during your four years of college from those who are making it work now: UF sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Presenters: college students serving as SMI ’19 resident advisers and teaching assistants

Thursday, June 27

*** The Science of Story Building ***

First, we will break down what is public interest communications (and how is it different from public relations). While we know a great deal about why stories work, we don’t focus enough on what makes one story more compelling and effective than another. We will cover seven principles of story building to help you learn to tell stories that can drive change.

Presenters: two UF College of Journalism and Communications faculty members – Ann Christiano, director of the Center for Public Interest Communications, and Matt Sheehan, a journalism lecturer and affiliate of the center

*** TBA ***

We expect it will be fun and not involve any critical thinking 🙂

Friday, June 28

*** Look What We Did This Week! ***

Best outcomes and significant takeaways from skills training and critical-thinking at SMI ’19.

– presented by representatives of each of the nine specializations