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Lecture Series Brings News Trends to New Media

Amy Aronson is the director of the New Media and Digital Design Program.

Amy Aronson is the director of the New Media and Digital Design Program. (Photo by Dana Maxson)

Fordham’s recently offered New Media and Digital Design Program will get a proper rollout this week when the Department of Communication and Media Studies launches an inaugural lecture series celebrating people in the program’s field.

The program and new major are a joint effort between the communication department and the departments of Computer and Information Science, Visual Arts, English, and the Gabelli School of Business. There are three tracks: commerce, information, and text and design.

“We wanted to bring some people to campus to get students familiar with the real world dimensions of this degree,” said Amy Aronson, the program’s director.

The nature of the new media landscape lends itself to collaboration among the departments, she said, adding that she and her colleagues are scholar practitioners with media industry chops alongside their academic credentials.

“On the professional level right now there’s much that’s unsettled in the media,” she said. “Students need to be able innovate, to reform, and have versatility in their thinking. They also have to think in multiple directions. If you have a critical background and you understand the technology, you’re in a position to promote creativity.”

The first lecture will take place this Thurs., Feb. 12 at 4 p.m. at Lowenstein Center’s South Lounge. Former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Beth Noveck will deliver a talk titled, “Government With the People: Digital Media and Re/Designing Government.”

Noveck has been named one of the “Foreign Policy 100” by Foreign Policy, one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company, and one of the “Top Women in Technology” by the Huffington Post. She also is the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful.

On Mon., Feb. 23 at 4 p.m., documentary filmmaker Elaine McMillion and art director Jeff Soyk will present “Connecting to Rural America from All Over the World: Hollow: An Interactive Documentary,” in Lowenstein Hall’s South Lounge. The two will discuss the potential for new kinds of documentaries presented by new media, films that “constantly update themselves with breaking information, are shaped by users [and]engage communities through social media collaboration.”

On Thurs., March 12 at 3 p.m., Mary Flanagan, Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College, will deliver “Humanist Games.” Flanagan is an artist, educator, and designer whose works have included game-inspired art and commercial games that seek to shift people’s thinking about biases and stereotypes. In 2003, Flanagan established the game research laboratory Titlfactor Game Research Lab to invent “humanist” games and take on social issues through gaming.

The series will wrap on Mon., April 27, with Amy O’Leary, FCLC ‘2000. O’Leary recently left The New York Times to become editorial director at She will deliver “Digital Media with a Mission” at 4 p.m. in Lowenstein Hall’s South Lounge. O’Leary is a multimedia storyteller who began her career at This American Life where she worked as a journalist and editor in text and in data and wireframes. She has covered social issues, such as sexism in the videogame industry, and continues to do so at Upworthy.

“The world needs as much attention as possible on the stories that matter most,” she said. “Whether that’s climate change, income inequality, health or immigration, today we have to be willing to get out there, into the street fight for human attention that is the Internet, and be willing to deploy our strengths as storytellers to make sure the most impactful ideas reach real people, where they’re at.”


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