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BYU Symposium Explores Positive Potential of New Media Forms

Student organizers Jessica Runyan and Jared Richardson discuss their symposium experience


Kimball Jensen (left) moderates a discussion between Mike Rugnetta, Mallory Everton, Curtis Hickman and Myke Johnson. (Alyssa Lyman)

New media forms such as social networking platforms, virtual reality and digital games regularly spark research and warnings about potential hazards, but a recent BYU symposium explored the other side of the coin: emerging media and creative collaboration as a force for positive change.

The Media of Today and Tomorrow symposium was organized by Department of Theatre and Media Arts professor Benjamin Thevenin in collaboration with media arts students Jessica Runyan and Jared Richardson. The team put together a full day of panels, workshops and interactive displays in the hopes of connecting students with like-minded individuals and professionals in various sectors of new media.

"One of the first things we talked about was what we wanted our message and the feel of the symposium to be," said Runyan, who is interested in producing and developing video games. "We wanted to capture this idea of a world's fair where people who work in new media can get together and network. The main goal was to create opportunities for students to connect with people both on and off campus and see what other projects are going on that they could get involved in."

As part of this mission, the organizers reached beyond film and animation to invite different disciplines across campus — including journalism, psychology, family life and computer science — all of which, Runyan explained, contribute important perspectives on both the perils and promise of new media.

The symposium's midday panel also brought together a variety of skills and interests from across the industry. Media arts professor Kimball Jensen moderated a discussion between PBS Idea Channel creator Mike Rugnetta, Studio C and JK Studios writer and actress Mallory Everton, The VOID co-founder Curtis Hickman and Spy Hop audio instructor Myke Johnson.

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