Liz Keptner teaches intercultural communication, public speaking and mass communication courses at Penn State Lehigh Valley. She is also the director of the Multimedia Innovation Center (MIC).
What was the highlight of your summer so far?
“I was lucky enough to attend Teachapalooza at Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida this summer. Teachapalooza, which is in its ninth year, is a high-energy, creative conference that brings college educators and working journalists together to learn and exchange innovative new skills that you can take right back to the classroom.”
How did this great opportunity come about?
“I’m finishing my master’s at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, which works closely with Poynter. When a professor suggested I apply, I jumped at the chance. Knowing it was a limited, highly competitive conference, I was thrilled when I was accepted.”
What were your three favorite things from this experience?
“The Keynote speakers were incredible. Bethany Swain, the first woman named Video Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association during the Obama administration, shared advice on handling online trolls in the digital age. CBS photojournalist turned Syracuse Professor of Practice Les Rose, best known for his CBS News “Everybody Has a Story” series with reporter Steve Hartman, reminded us the importance of being kind digital storyteller. Keith Woods, NPR’s vice president for newsroom training and diversity discussed how important - and tricky it is - tackling sensitive topics during interviews. I also enjoyed the “Show and Share” presentations during lunch (we were constantly learning!) where conference attendees shared their most successful student engagement assignments. However, meeting other journalism educators (some which will remain lifelong friends and mentors) and keeping in touch to share resources, tips, and advice was the icing on the cake.”
What did you learn/gain from it?
“As a former broadcast journalist, it’s a challenge keeping up with today’s digital technology because it’s constantly changing. We all want to give our students the very latest tools and techniques to be successful. Attending this conference, and hearing that I wasn’t alone was both refreshing and energizing. Teachapalooza provided me with front-edge teaching tools to train the next generation of journalists and digital storytellers, something that’s extremely important in this era of fake news. I immediately came home and got in touch with my Nittany News students and they’re very excited to implement these ideas when covering the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus community this year!”