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Alfred Hermida combines academic rigour with a journalist’s sensibility on how to tell a compelling story. An award-winning digital media pioneer at the forefront of research into social media and new forms of storytelling, he is sought after for his insights into today’s marketplace of ideas. Alfred is a gifted storyteller, having honed his craft in telling stories with impact through 16 years at the BBC News. As a former radio and television reporter, including four years as a correspondent in the Middle East, he is at ease in front of the microphone and camera.

He has been featured as a speaker at academic and professional conferences across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia. These include talks for The Laurier Institution, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Online News Association.

Selected talks

The good, the bad and the ugly of AI in journalism

Doctoral Lecture at the Department of Communication, University of Ottawa, October 12 2022.

Pay attention to the paraphernalia of news

Google Newsgeist Ignite Talk, Montreal May 13 2022

Catalyst for change: Social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
UBC Alumni webinar, December 8 2020

The Journalism Revolution in a Digital Age
School of Journalism, Catholic University of Valparaiso
Valparaiso, November 12, 2018

Uncivil discourse: What is everyone so angry about?
UBC Dialogues panel on the growing divide of public discourse.
UBC Robson, Vancouver, October 15, 2018

Mobile and Social Media conference
Todos Somos Medios: Publishers, Platforms and Publics (in Spanish)
Santiago, Chile, August 10, 2017

Korea Press Foundation
The Evolution of Social Media and Storytelling
Seoul, South Korea, March 11 2016

International Communications Association annual conference
Respondent on panel conceptualizing the uses of social media in journalism, San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 23, 2015

GRCP International Workshop: Reflections on Emergent Research in Political Communication
Keynote: Networked publics and the remaking of the news, Quebec City, April 24, 2015

SXSWEdu panel
From #LOL to #KPI: How to Teach Social Media, Austin, Texas, March 10, 2015
This panel featured top social media professors sharing innovative tactics on teaching digital natives about social media. Attendees heard concrete examples and new ideas to incorporate into their own lesson plans.

#TellEveryone talk and panel
Hootsuite Labs, Vancouver, February 19, 2015

#Tell Everyone: Why we share
Wall Wednesday, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC, February 4, 2015

Navigating the social streams of information that shape how we view the world
Social media experts speaker series, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, October 15, 2014

Emotions and the art of sharing
Lightning talk at the Online News Association annual conference, Atlanta, October 20, 2013
“OMG! That’s disgusting. I have to tell my friends about it.” Disgust is a surprising strong emotion that drives social sharing. But too much of it puts off an audience. This talk unpacked the complex emotions that lead readers to share some stories much more than others. It revealed which positive and negative feelings lay behind the urge to share.

Rewiring journalism: The new literacies of networked communication architectures
International Communications Association annual conference, London, June 20, 2013
This talk applies research in new literacies to contextualize the interplay between networked communication technologies and journalism. As new forms of communication emerge, journalism seeks to adopt and adapt new affordances that disrupt prevailing norms and principles through a contested process of negotiation.

Gone Digital: A Roundtable on the Future of Graduate Journalism Education in a Digital Age
Canadian Communication Association annual conference, Victoria, June 6, 2013
Talk on how to shift away from journalism education as memory – teaching what we learnt during our careers as journalists – and instead viewing journalism education as prophesy – teaching for the future of journalism.

Old vs. New Media
Social Media Week Vancouver, Vancouver, September 27, 2012
A panel discussion on the differences and similarities between traditional and new media.

Beyond Broadcast: How Social Media is Shaping What We Know
Keynote at the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada annual conference, Ottawa, May 25 2012

The Social Media Revolution: The Arab Spring and the Transformation of Journalism
Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, in partnership with Samara, Toronto, May 15, 2012
As the Arab Spring erupted across the Middle East, many citizens in the region turned to social media to express their desire for social change and to document their experiences. By sending instant updates to Twitter or uploading videos to YouTube, theirs was a story often told without the aid of traditional news outlets. Join the Couchiching Institute in a conversation about the phenomenon of “ambient journalism”. The instant communication of fragments of news and information through social media is changing the nature of journalism at a time when the most trusted name in news may be a veteran TV news anchor or a twenty-something graduate tweeting from Tahrir Square. Twitter has given journalists a new tool to gather and source news, but it has also led to challenges identifying authoritative sources in an increasingly noisy social media sphere. Discover how social media shaped the news coming from the Middle East and how it marks a shift in the ability of citizens in repressive societies to shape the news.

Creative Destruction: Firing up your newsroom with new models of journalism
Canadian Association of Journalists annual conference, Toronto, April 27, 2012

News Beyond Journalism: Social Media and the Recurring Rhythms of Storytelling
University of British Columbia Celebrate Research public talk, March 2012
This talk argues that social media marks a shift away from a 20th century convention when news became the exclusive domain of professional journalists. People have always shared news. Today, though, we are sharing more material from more sources with more people, more often and more quickly than ever before. What used to happen in private exchanges, invisible to most, is now public on social media, visible to all. Join us to find out how social media is rewriting the rules on who we get the news from and what kind of news we get.
Listen: News Beyond Journalism 

How social media are changing journalism
UBC Robson, Vancouver, November 2011
From the Middle East protests to the Occupy movement to the Vancouver riots, people are sharing their impressions, photos and video through social media. Through breaking news on Twitter to recommending a news story on Facebook, social media are becoming ever more ingrained in journalism.

New Literacies, New Media and New Journalism? An institutional perspective on transformative pedagogy in journalism education
International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference
Indiana University Bloomington, October 2011
As a situated practice, journalism is governed by time and space and certain literacy practices. Due to the impact of social media and networked technologies, it is no longer sufficient to evaluate proficiency in tasks that reflect prevailing news industry practices. What is the nature of change in the pedagogical signature of this field? We find that disciplinary knowledge structures influence faculty readiness to change and its articulation is of value to our peers.

Implications of social media for education
WorldViews Conference on Media and Higher Education
University of Toronto, June 2011

The Active Recipient: Participatory Journalism Through the Lens of the Dewey-Lippmann Debate
International Symposium on Online Journalism, University of Texas, Austin, April 2011
This study draws on the work of Lippmann and Dewey to frame how journalists view participatory journalism. Based on semi-structured interviews with professionals at 24 newspaper websites from 10 countries, as well as a consideration of the sites, we found that the public is largely framed as a source for, and as a discussant of, the news, with little agency over how news is defined, reported or produced. We suggest that journalists view audiences as “active recipients”, somewhere between passive receivers and active creators of content, straddling the space between Lippmann and Dewey.

How UBC scholars are responding to human rights issues within and beyond the West
The Laurier Institution, UBC Robson, Vancouver, November 18, 2010
The impact of social media on democratic political movements

The digital narrative in social media
The International Digital Media Arts Association Conference, Emily Carr University, Vancouver, November 6, 2010
This keynote looked at how social media technologies provide structures for collaborative and decentralised story-telling.

Application of visualization technologies in journalism to enhance public knowledge
IBM CASCON conference, Toronto, November 2, 2010
This presentation considered the application of visualization tools in journalism, with particular emphasis on the preparation, manipulation and visual representation of complex data, both structured and unstructured.

How to plan and launch a convergent student website
AEJMC, Denver, USA, August 4, 2010
This presentation explained how the UBC Graduate School of Journalism created website to serve as a publishing platform for student course work. The site is part of the school’s Integrated Journalism program.

Lessons from an integrated approach in journalism education
IAMCR, Braga, Portugal, July 21, 2010
This presentation explores how the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia has developed a transformative model of professional journalism learning across media platforms. Over the past four years, we have sought to realign our core first-year journalism Masters program through our Integrated Journalism program that brought together a number of existing courses. Our approach draws from studies in new literacies that suggest the new technologies, new rules, and new skill sets necessitate a new conceptual framework for journalism and journalism education.

11th International Symposium on Online Journalism
University of Texas, Austin, April 23-24, 2010
Wikifying the CBC: Reimagining the remit of public service media, Alfred Hermida and Amanda Ash