LearningLAB Conference a Huge Success

Renaissance Journalism ushered in the New Year with LearningLAB 2013, an exciting and well-received multimedia journalism training conference, held in the Journalism and Humanities departments at San Francisco State University on January 11.

The conference attracted a sell-out crowd of more than 100 people representing a dynamic mix of Bay Area ethnic and community news organizations, grassroots nonprofit organizations, and foundations. Participants could choose from 14 workshops during this all-day event. They had the opportunity to learn multimedia storytelling skills using free to inexpensive tools—audio recording, live streaming with Ustream, mobile phone photography, creating websites with WordPress. And they were introduced to the latest techniques, strategies and “tricks of the trade” in social media and community engagement—from building a powerful personal brand to understanding metrics. All the workshops were taught by leading experts in multiplatform journalism, social media and new technologies.

This year, Renaissance Journalism introduced “Hot Topics,” a series of panels on important national issues that continue to have a profound impact on our local communities. Topics included the status of immigration reforms during Obama’s second term; the Affordable Care Act and other key health care reforms on the horizon; the rise in poverty and efforts to eradicate it, locally and nationally; and the nation’s shifting demographics and the new political landscape. Journalists, experts and activists who cover these issues shared the latest information and research, as well as their story ideas and predictions as to what lies ahead.

Participants at the panel on poverty and its eradication, “In Our Own Backyard: Poverty in the Bay Area,” were so inspired by the discussion that the facilitator, SF State journalism professor Venise Wagner, created an open Facebook group called “Reporting Poverty in the Bay Area.” According to Wagner, the purpose of this group is to provide a forum for participants to exchange story ideas on poverty and to spark and develop collaborative reporting projects on poverty issues and solutions.

“You could feel the enthusiasm and energy of the participants in every room,” said Jon Funabiki, executive director of Renaissance Journalism and a professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. “They asked lots of questions, experimented fearlessly with new technologies, and shared their expertise and insights on controversial issues with fellow participants. We could not have asked for a better outcome.”

In case you missed the conference, you can check out the PDF of the printed program here:


Watch our website for announcements of future training events and programs. You can also sign up here or at the bottom of this page to get on our mailing list.

Our warmest thanks to the dozens of journalists, media specialists, educators, nonprofit leaders, communications professionals, students and volunteers who contributed to making this year’s conference a success. We are also grateful to our donors for their ongoing support of LearningLAB and Renaissance Journalism’s work.

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